Music mogul Russell Simmons has been accused of sexually assaulting over twenty women. ON THE RECORD is a documentary that tells the story of several of his accusers, and the film will premiere at the Sundance Film Festival today, January 25th.
The film features interviews with a number of women who have accused Simmons of rape, including Sil Lai Abrams, Sherri Hines, Jenny Lumet and former Def Jam executive Drew Dixon. (Simmons denies all allegations of nonconsensual sex).
Before the premiere, a statement of solidarity in support of the survivors of Russell Simmons — including those who have courageously decided to share their stories in the documentary – was released Thursday across social media.
The statement, organized by Equality Now, UltraViolet, and V-Day, with over one hundred organizations and individuals adding their support is below:
“It takes great courage for any survivors of sexual assault to come forward, especially publicly. We admire the bravery of all of the Russell Simmons’ survivors and the #silencebreakers who stepped up to share their story in the @OnTheRecordDoc. We are unequivocally united in supporting the survivors in the film and all survivors of Russell Simmons. We want them to know: We believe you. We hear you. You deserve to be seen. #MeToo” reads the statement, which was signed by names including Rose McGowan, Alyssa Milano, Evan Rachel Wood and others.
Other signatories include Ai-Jen Poo, Eve Ensler, Gina Belafonte, Gloria Steinem, Frances Fisher, Idina Menzel, Marisa Tomei, Frances Fisher, Monica Ramirez, Rosanna Arquette and Thandie Newton. Organizations who lent their names. One name missing from the open letter’s signees is women’s empowerment movement Time’s Up.
Oprah Winfrey withdraws from ‘On The Record’
Ahead of the high-profile doc’s festival premiere, executive producer Oprah Winfrey made the decision to step away from the project, citing creative differences with the filmmakers. This comes via The Hollywood Reporter.
“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+,” Winfrey said in 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,” Winfrey continued. “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.”
Read the full list of who signed the statement below.
Bridgit Antoinette Evans
Evan Rachel Wood
Jess Morales Rocketto
Paula J. Giddings
Professor Kimberle Crenshaw
Sarah Sophie Flicker
Susan Celia Swan
Taina Bien Aime
Teresa C. Younger
Black Women’s Blueprint
Chicago Media Project
Coalition Against Trafficking in Women
Coalition to Abolish Slavery & Trafficking
Cohen Law Group
FUTURES without Violence
Girls for Gender Equity
HEART Women & Girls
Innovations Human Trafficking Collaborative
Justice For Migrant Women
Ms. Foundation for Women
National Alliance to End Sexual Violence
National Coalition Against Domestic Violence
National Domestic Workers Alliance
National Women’s Law Center
New York Alliance on Sexual Assault
New York Women’s Foundation
One Billion Rising
Oregon Abuse Advocates and Survivors in Service
Protect Our Defenders
Sisterhood Is Global Institute
The Voices and Faces Project
Tools & Tiaras
We are the Federation
Women And Hollywood
Women in Film, Los Angeles
Women’s Equal Justice Project
Women’s March Global