Oprah Steps Away From Russell Simmons Accuser Doc, Pulls From Apple+

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Oprah Winfrey is walking away from a documentary that placed on a former music executive who has accused Russell Simmons of sexual misconduct.

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP/REX/Shutterstock (9309598el)
Oprah Winfrey poses in the press room with the Cecil B. DeMille Award at the 75th annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, in Beverly Hills, Calif
75th Annual Golden Globe Awards – Press Room, Beverly Hills, USA – 07 Jan 2018

The movie has been among the highest-profile doc projects set to debut at the Sundance Film Festival later this month. Winfrey, who served as an executive producer until now on the film, planned to air it on Apple TV+ after the festival.

“I have decided that I will no longer be executive producer on The Untitled Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering documentary and it will not air on Apple TV+,” Oprah made a statement to The Hollywood Reporter. “First and foremost, I want it to be known that I unequivocally believe and support the women. Their stories deserve to be told and heard. 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. Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering are talented filmmakers. I have great respect for their mission but given the filmmakers’ desire to premiere the film at the Sundance Film Festival before I believe it is complete, I feel it’s best to step aside. I will be working with Time’s Up to support the victims and those impacted by abuse and sexual harassment.”

In response to Winfrey’s decision, Tina Tchen , Foundation President and CEO of Time’s Up said: “Time’s Up is in full support of the survivors who have spoken out about Russell Simmons. These women are brave. We believe them. We support Oprah Winfrey in maintaining that the victims’ stories deserve to be heard on their own terms. “