Oprah Cancels Production On Upcoming #MeToo Documentary About Russell Simmons, Cites Creative Differences

Isheka N. Harrison
Written by Isheka N. Harrison
Oprah Winfrey
Oprah Winfrey, center, stands with Russell Simmons, right, and other mourners as the casket enters for the funeral of Eunice Kennedy Shriver at Saint Francis Xavier Roman Catholic Church in the Hyannis section of Barnstable, Mass., Friday, Aug. 14, 2009. Shriver, the sister of President John F. Kennedy and Massachusetts Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, died Tuesday morning at Cape Cod Hospital at age 88. (AP Photo/Steven Senne, Pool)

Oprah Winfrey has pulled the plug on her involvement in an upcoming #MeToo Documentary featuring a woman who accused Russell Simmons of rape, The Verge reported.

The documentary was slated to appear on Apple TV+, but Oprah said she will no longer serve as executive producer of the project because she and the filmmakers are “not aligned in” their “creative vision.”

This marks the second time since launching Apple’s new streaming service has lost one of its projects. They delayed the release of their debut film “The Banker” last year.

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The media mogul made the announcement through a statement via Deadline and other media outlets. Her full statement reads:

“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+. 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.”

Winfrey made the announcement after getting backlash from rappers like 50 Cent, The Game and Simmons himself. They accused the first Black woman to become a billionaire of targeting Black men who were accused of sex crimes, but letting their white counterparts get a pass.

RELATED: 50 Cent Criticizes Oprah For Only Going After Black Men Accused of Sex Crimes

However, as noted in her aforementioned statement, Winfrey said she still believes and supports Simmons’ accusers. Despite this, 50 Cent thanked Winfrey in an Instagram post for removing herself from the documentary.

“Alright, alright, alright Oprah we love you, thank you for responding and if you ever need me for anything I’m here,” the rapper captioned in his post of a screenshot of Deadline’s article.

Simmons also responded to Winfrey’s announcement with a long, heartfelt Instagram post to the beloved media icon. In it he says the documentary was troubling because Winfrey had “been a shining light to my family and my community. Contributing so much to my life that I couldn’t list a fraction of it …”

He went on to accept responsibility for being “guilty of exploiting, supporting, and making the soundtrack for a grossly unequal society,” but maintained he has never forced himself on anyone.

He ended it by writing, “Let us get to work on uplifting humanity and put this moment and old narrative behind us Love you.”

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#Repost @unclerush when documentary was announced.. Dearest OPRAH,you have been a shining light to my family and my community. Contributing so much to my life that I couldn’t list a fraction of it in this blog.Ihave 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 documentry. I have already admitted to being a playboy more (appropriately titled today “womanizer”) sleeping with and putting myself in more compromising situations than almost any man I know. Not 8 or 14 thousand like warren Beatty or Wilt Chamberlain, but still an embarrassing number. So many that some could reinterpret or reimagine a different recollection of the same experiences. Your doc is focused on 3 hand chosen women. I have refused to get in the mud with any accusers, but let’s acknowledge what i have shared. I have taken and passed nine 3-hour lie detector tests (taken for my daughters), that these stories have been passed on by CNN, NBC, BUZZFEED, NY POST, NY MAG, AND OTHERS. Now that you have reviewed the facts and you SHOULD have learned what I know; that these stories are UNUSABLE and that “hurt people hurt people”. Today I received a call from an old girlfriend from the early 1980s which means that they are using my words/evidence against me and their COMMITMENT/ (all of the claims are 25 to 40 years old) It is impossible to prove what happened 40 years ago, but in my case PROOF EXISTS of what didn’t happen, mostly signed letters from their own parents, siblings, roommates, band members, interns, and in the case of 2 of your 3 accusers,their own words in their books. Shocking how many people have misused this important powerful revolution for relevance and money. … In closing, I am guilty of exploiting, supporting, and making the soundtrack for a grossly unequal society, i have even been unconsciously callous , but i have never been violent or forced myself on anyone. Still I am here to help support a necessary shift in power and consciousness. Let us get to work on uplifting humanity and put this moment and old narrative behind us Love you

A post shared by Russell Simmons (@unclerush) on

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