Oprah Winfrey explains why she’s exiting #MeToo documentary

Quick Facts About Oprah Winfrey Oprah Winfrey's famous mononym is a typo. Her name is written "Orpah" on her birth certificate. Oprah's name spelled backward forms the title of her media company, Harpo Productions. She's the first African-American woman billionaire and the world's richest black woman. In 2013, Winfrey was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by former President Barack Obama. The TV channel OWN wasn't her first foray into network television dealings. She was an investor in the Oxygen

The documentary that included a woman who accused Russell Simmons of sexual misconduct will no longer see Oprah Winfrey involved.

The mogul announced her decision to step away from the movie in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter. Despite her parting ways with the film of which she was the executive producer, Winfrey maintained she backs the women featured in the film and the Time's Up movement.

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“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. "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,” she continued. “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.”

The film focuses on Drew Dixon, who was among the early group of women who accused Simmons of sexual misconduct. Dixon, who worked as an executive at Def Jam Recordings under founder Simmons in the 1990s, claimed in a 2017 New York Times article that Simmons raped her in his apartment.

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Simmons has consistently denied the accusations from Dixon and other accusers.

Meanwhile, the still-unnamed documentary’s filmmakers issued a statement responding to Winfrey's news.

"Revealing hard truths is never easy, and the women in our documentary are all showing extraordinary strength and courage by raising their voices to address sexual abuse in the music industry," they said.

"While we are disappointed that Oprah Winfrey is no longer an Executive Producer on the project, we are gratified that Winfrey has unequivocally said she believes and supports the survivors of the film,” he went on. “The #MeToo experiences of Black women deserve to be heard, especially against powerful men, so we will continue with our plans to bring the film to The Sundance Film Festival. The film, more than two years in the making, will be our eighth film to premiere at Sundance. The film is a beacon of hope for voices that have long been suppressed, and an inspiration for anyone wanting to regain their power power."

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Simmons has not publicly responded to Winfrey’s backing out of the documentary, but he previously took issue with her involvement. He said in part that it was “so troubling that you choose me to single out in your recent documentry.”

“I have refused to get in the mud with any accusers, but let's acknowledge what i have shared,” he said on Instagram in December. “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'."

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