Oprah Winfrey claims Russell Simmons tried to ‘pressure’ her to drop documentary about sexual assault allegations

Hip-hop mogul has been accused of rape by four women and denies any wrongdoing

Ellie Harrison
Sunday 19 January 2020 11:09 GMT
Oprah Winfrey and Russell Simmons
Oprah Winfrey and Russell Simmons (Getty)

Oprah Winfrey has claimed record executive Russell Simmons “attempted to pressure” her into pulling out of a documentary about the rape allegations made against him.

Simmons, a powerful hip-hop mogul who founded Def Jam Recordings, has been accused of rape by four women and sexual assault or harassment by five other women in incidents that took place between 1983 and 2016. He denies any wrongdoing.

Winfrey has now said Simmons tried to stop her from making a documentary for AppleTV+ about the allegations, entitled On the Record.

“He did reach out multiple times and attempted to pressure me,” Winfrey told Fox.

While Winfrey did withdraw from the documentary, she insists the decision was not to do with Simmons’ attempts.

A representative said her stepping down had to do with inconsistencies in the documentary’s reporting, particularly with the claim of Def Jam executive Drew Dixon.

Winfrey, who has previously spoken about being sexually abused herself, said she still believes all of the women who have accused Simmons, but that more reporting is needed for the film to be ready.

Apple will no longer distribute the documentary, but it is scheduled to premiere at the Sundance Film Festival on 25 January.

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