Russell Simmons confronts Oprah Winfrey over documentary featuring one of his accusers

Written by on December 17, 2019

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Original post by Los Angeles Times

Music mogul Russell Simmons is challenging Oprah Winfrey for executive producing a documentary featuring a woman who has accused him of rape.

On Friday, Simmons took to Instagram to express his disappointment with Winfrey, whom he said he regarded fondly as a positive figure in his life before criticizing her decision to make a film exploring sexual assault allegations against him. The Apple TV+ project, set to debut at the Sundance Film Festival early next year, spotlights Drew Dixon, one of the first women to publicly accuse Simmons of rape.

“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,” Simmons captioned a photo of himself and Winfrey having a book talk. “This is why it’s so troubling that you choose me to single out in your recent documentry [sic].”

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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. Please note that ur producers said that this upcoming doc was to focus ONLY 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. Maybe you should name your documentary “FLAVOR OF LOVE”!? In closing, I am guilty of exploiting, supporting, and making the soundtrack for a grossly unequal society, 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

A post shared by Russell Simmons (@unclerush) on

“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. … So many that some could reinterpret or reimagine a different recollection of the same experiences.”

Several women have accused the Def Jam Recordings cofounder of sexual assault spanning multiple decades. Simmons has denied the claims, including in a 2017 statement to the Los Angeles Times where he said they “range from the patently untrue to frivolous and hurtful.”

The primary subject of Winfrey’s documentary, directed by Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering, is Dixon, who worked as an executive at Def Jam under Simmons in the 1990s and alleged in a 2017 New York Times article that he raped her in his apartment. The film is billed as the journey of “a brilliant former music executive who grapples with whether to go public with her story of assault and abuse by a notable figure in the music industry.”

“Please note that ur producers said that this upcoming doc was to focus ONLY on 3 hand chosen women,” Simmons continued in his lengthy post. “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’.”

Simmons ended by repeatedly proclaiming his innocence, asserting that he has “never been violent or forced myself on anyone.” His is the second Instagram attack on Winfrey in the last 24 hours, following an earlier post by rapper 50 Cent, who accused the beloved talk show host of singling out black men, such as Simmons, in her #MeToo activism. He also cited the Sundance-bound documentary.

Winfrey’s production company, Harpo Studios, did not answer calls for comment made by The Times.


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