‘On The Record,’ Russell Simmons #MeToo Doc, Charts Course to Sundance After Oprah Exit

UPDATED: A spokesperson for Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering says the filmmaking team behind “On the Record” will participate in print and broadcast interviews at the Sundance film festival. The accusers featured in the film are weighing press options at this time.

Earlier, a spokesperson for the Russell Simmons documentary confirmed to Variety that only photo calls would be booked in support of the project. The rapidly-changing nature of plans reflects the bumpy road the film has had in its approach to the Park City festival, following the very public withdrawal of executive producer Oprah Winfrey.

Subjects in the film include women who have accused hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons of rape and sexual misconduct, which he denies. Behind the scenes, efforts are being made to refocus attention to the film, and not the fallout from the departure of Winfrey as executive producer and Apple TV Plus as distributor.

Among the women in the cast is Drew Dixon, a music industry executive who is chief among Simmons’ accusers. In an initial statement, Winfrey said she unequivocally believed the women involved but felt the film was incomplete. Her decision blindsided Dick and Ziering, the pair told Variety.

Less than a week after her announcement, Winfrey told the New York Times that Simmons attempted to pressure her to pull her support from the project, which would have released under her overall content deal with Apple. Winfrey maintains he had nothing to do with her decision.

Dixon’s story is described as “haunting” and a “complex study of race, gender, and the shared feelings of helplessness and terror that come from abuse.” It grapples with the specific burden for women of color who break silences to take on mythic figures in numerous communities.

In response to Oprah’s withdrawal, Dixon said, “I feel like I’m experiencing a second crime. I am being silenced. The broader community is being intimidated. The most powerful black woman in the world is being intimidated.”

The film continues to seek domestic distribution.

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