Oprah defends exit of axed Apple TV+ documentary

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Oprah Winfrey talks to CBSNews
Oprah Winfrey talks about On the Record, a documentary that isn’t coming to Apple TV+ after all.
Screenshot: CBSNews

Oprah Winfrey today revealed more details on her decision to not bring a high-profile documentary to Apple TV+ about alleged sexual misconduct by Russell Simmons.

She’s adamant that she still supports the women bringing the allegations, but wanted to do more investigation before releasing the documentary. And broaden its scope, too.

Last week, Winfrey gave a brief statement on why she would no longer be listed as an executive producer for On The Record, and pulling it from Apple TV+. This documentary will tell the story of a music executive Drew Dixon and her allegations of rape by Simmons, co-founder of Def Jam Recordings.

Creative differences about Apple TV+ documentary

Today, Winfrey told CBS, “I had gone to the filmmakers, and I had said to them, ‘Houston I think we have a problem’ here because new information had come forward the very first time this was announced, and I said, I think we need to pull out of Sundance.” This documentary is scheduled to premier at the Sundance Film Festival this weekend. “And if we can’t pull out of Sundance I’m going to have to take my name off.”

She went on to say, “I just care about getting it right and I think there’s some inconsistencies in the stories that we need to look at.”

Winfrey also wanted to broaden the scope of On The Record, bringing in stories of other women how have accused Simmons of sexual misconduct.

When she didn’t get agreement from Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering, the filmmakers responsible for this documentary, Winfrey pulled her name off it.

She supports and believes the women making these allegations. And she didn’t leave the project because Russell has been pressuring her to do so. “This is not a victory for Russell and I unequivocally say that I did not pull out because of Russell. This is not a victory lap for him.“

While On The Record will stil appear at Sundance, it won‘t make its way to Apple TV+, as had been originally planned.

A video of CBS’s full interview with Oprah Winfrey available here: