Russell Simmons' accusers documentary picked up by HBO Max after Oprah, Apple pull out
On the Record, the hot-button documentary about women who have accused music mogul Russell Simmons of sexual misconduct, has been picked up by HBO Max after Oprah Winfrey exited the project as an executive producer last month, thus pulling the film from its original distributor, Apple TV+.
The documentary, which premiered at Sundance, marks the first festival acquisition for WarnerMedia’s upcoming streaming service.
Directed and produced by Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering (The Hunting Ground, The Invisible War), On the Record tells the story of veteran music executive Drew Dixon and her decision to become one of the first women of color to come forward during the #MeToo movement and accuse Simmons of rape and sexual misconduct in a 2017 interview with The New York Times. The film also details the accounts of several other accusers while “delving deeply into the ways women of colors’ voices are all too often silenced and ignored when reporting these crimes; as well as the various cultural forces that conspire to make them reluctant to do so,” according to a news release announcing the acquisition. Simmons has denied all allegations against him.
On the Record was initially slated for release via Apple TV+ as part of Winfrey’s overall deal there, but that fell through when Winfrey stepped down from the project, citing issues she had with the production. In an interview with CBS’ Gayle King, Winfrey said that while Simmons had attempted to pressure her in the past, she did not step down because of him.
“I believe that the women’s voices deserve to be heard, and as an executive producer I also was in a position where I thought some things were not right,” she said. “I wanted the context of the story to be broadened, I wanted more women brought into the story.”
On The Record is produced by Dick and Ziering’s Jane Doe Films, with Dan Cogan for Impact Partners, Regina K. Scully for Artemis Rising, Ian Darling for Shark Island, and Abigail Disney for Level Forward serving as executive producers. The creative team includes producers Jamie Rogers and Amy Herdy.
“The fierce determination of Drew Dixon and all of the women who bravely chose to share their stories in On The Record moved us profoundly,” Sarah Aubrey, head of original content at HBO Max, said in a statement Monday. “I’ve been impressed with Amy and Kirby’s work over the years covering this complex subject matter, and look forward to this film finding the widest possible audience.”
On the Record