Oprah Winfrey says Russell Simmons attempted to stop her from producing a documentary about the sexual assault allegations against him.
Via a statement given to Fox News, the television entrepreneur claims the music mogul went beyond his Instagram message to her from last year.
"He did reach out multiple times and attempted to pressure me," Winfrey said to the network on Saturday (January 18). However, the spokesperson claimed that her departure had nothing to do with Simmons’ attempts.
In December 2017, four women who worked with Russell Simmons claimed he raped them beginning in the 1980s. The 62-year-old has denied all wrongdoing related to the allegations.
According to a rep for Oprah, she stepped down from executive producing On the Record due to inconsistencies in the documentary’s reporting, Despite her issues with the project, Winfrey reportedly “believes all of the women” who have accused Simmons.
The primary subject’s name in the doc was left out of Apple TV+’s initial characterization. The logline simply read: “A brilliant former music executive who grapples with whether to go public with her story of assault and abuse by a notable figure in the music industry. The film is a profound examination of race, gender, class and intersectionality, and the toll assaults take on their victims and society at large.”
The official Sundance description, however, confirmed the subject is Drew Dixon, who had alleged instances of misconduct by Simmons in a 2017 interview with the New York Times. The Def Jam Records co-founder had served as Dixon’s boss during her time as an executive at the music label. Dixon alleges the rape occured in Simmons’ apartment in 1995, just before she quit the company.