×

Oprah Defends Decision to Exit #MeToo Doc: ‘This Is Not a Victory for Russell’ Simmons

Oprah Winfrey explained her decision to step away from “On the Record,” an expose about sexual harassment in the music industry, including women who have accused mogul Russell Simmons of misconduct. The documentary, from filmmakers Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering, will premiere at Sundance on Jan. 25.

Winfrey, who served as an executive producer and set the documentary to release as part of her overall deal with Apple TV Plus, backed out of the project two weeks before its debut. At the time, she released a statement saying, “In my opinion, there is more work to be done on the film to illuminate the full scope of what the victims endured and it has become clear that the filmmakers and I are not aligned in that creative vision.”

Appearing Tuesday on CBS This Morning, Winfrey elaborated on her exit, explaining she had been concerned that there were “inconsistencies” with the story. She told the filmmakers if they didn’t pull the documentary from Sundance and address potential problems, she would take her name off the project.

“I just care about getting it right, and I think there are some inconsistencies in the stories that we need to look at,” Winfrey said on CBS This Morning.

Winfrey, a victim herself of sexual assault, said it was a hard decision because pulling out of the documentary might look like she was being pressured by Simmons. But ultimately, she said, “The only question for me is: What is the right thing to do?”

“This is not a victory for Russell, and I unequivocally say that I did not pull out because of Russell,” Winfrey said. “This is not a victory lap for him. I cannot be silenced by Russell Simmons after all I’ve been through.”

She added, “[It’s] ridiculous to think I could be intimidated by Russell Simmons.”

Though Simmons has vehemently denied all allegations, Winfrey said it’s important to vocalize her support of the women who have spoken out.

“I believe the women’s voices deserve to be heard, and as an executive producer I was also in a position where I think things were not right. I wanted the context of the story to be broadened, I wanted more women to be brought in.”

More Music

  • CDBaby logo

    CD Baby Is Shutting Down Its Retail Store

    As if the name “CD Baby” weren’t already an anachronism, the independent distributor announced late last week that it is shutting down its retail store, although it will continue to distribute physical product through other channels. “CD Baby’s mission is to help artists monetize and promote their music in the best ways possible,” a message [...]

  • Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters

    Foo Fighters Reveal 'Van Tour' Dates to Mark 25th Anniversary

    The Foo Fighters are revisiting their past with a tour to commemorate their first-ever outing as a band in 1995. Dubbed “The Van Tour,” the spring trek will kick off in Phoenix on April 12 and wrap in Hamilton, Ontario on May 12. Each stop will feature a sneak peek at frontman Dave Grohl’s new [...]

  • Harry Styles arrives for the Brit

    Harry Styles Walks Brit Awards Red Carpet After Reported Robbery in London

    Harry Styles walked the red carpet at the Brit Awards in London Tuesday night, shortly after it was reported that he was robbed at knifepoint in his Hampstead neighborhood three nights earlier. Without naming Styles by name, Scotland Yard confirmed Tuesday that an incident seeming to match the circumstances of the alleged assault on the [...]

  • Amazon Music Puts Spotlight on Kane

    'Velocity' Puts Spotlight on Kane Brown as Subject of Amazon Music's Fifth Mini-Doc

    For the fifth entry in its line of mini-documentaries, Amazon Music is putting the spotlight on Kane Brown with a behind-the-scenes look at the young country star that will arrive Thursday, accompanied by a live EP. “Velocity” captures moments leading up to Brown’s headlining appearance at L.A.’s Staples Center Jan. 9, with his wife, managers, [...]

  • American alternative rock band Pearl Jam

    Pearl Jam Tell Congressmen BOSS Ticket-Reform Act Is ‘Flawed’

    UPDATED: The BOSS Act is legislation designed to crack down on improper practices in the secondary ticket market — bots, price-gougers and the like — spearheaded by New Jersey Democratic Congressmen Bill Pascrell and Frank Pallone Jr. The bill, which is officially named the “Better Oversight of Secondary Sales and Accountability in Concert Ticketing Act” [...]

  • Sofar Sounds Unveils a Battery of

    Sofar Sounds Unveils a Battery of New Programs for Artists

    Sofar Sounds — which has made a name and a business for itself by staging “secret gigs and intimate concerts” featuring emerging artists for an invited, engaged audience — today unveiled a series of new programs intended to serve artists better, including a new payment model that will see artists paid more for playing bigger [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content