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Oprah Winfrey stepped down from her role as executive producer on a forthcoming documentary about Russell Simmons earlier this month. The doc, titled On The Record, reportedly centers around Simmons’ sexual assault accuser Drew Dixon.
On Tuesday’s (January 21) episode of CBS This Morning, the talk show host mogul clarified her separation from the project has nothing to do with Simmons, despite receiving both “public and private” pressure to abandon her role. “This is not a victory for Russell,” she said. “I unequivocally say that I did not pull out because of Russell. This is not a victory lap for him. I cannot be silenced by a Russell Simmons after all I’ve been through.” Simmons was vocal about his disdain surrounding Winfrey’s initial involvement. In a lengthy Instagram post, the Def Jam Recordings co-founder explained he was blindsided due to their longstanding friendship. “Dearest OPRAH, you have been a shining light to my family and my community,” he began. “Contributing so much to my life that I couldn’t list a fraction of it in this blog. I have given you the gift of meditation and the groundbreaking book ‘THE POWER OF NOW’ we bonded to say the least. This is why it’s so troubling that you choose me to single out in your recent documentary.” Shortly after Simmons’ post, Winfrey announced she parted ways with the documentary’s directors over creative differences. According to TMZ, she believed more work was needed to “illuminate the full scope of what the victims endured.” She added, “It has become clear that the filmmakers and I are not aligned in that creative vision.” Despite Winfrey’s exit, filmmakers Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering are pressing forward.
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