After Oprah’s exit, Russell Simmons doc acquired by HBO Max

Entertainment
Sil Lai Abrams, Amy Ziering, Kirby Dick, Drew Dixon, Sheri Hines

Sil Lai Abrams, from back left, director Amy Ziering, director Kirby Dick, Drew Dixon, bottom left, and Sheri Hines pose for a portrait to promote the film “On the Record” at the Music Lodge during the Sundance Film Festival on Sunday, Jan. 26, 2020, in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Taylor Jewell/Invision/AP)

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NEW YORK (AP) — The documentary about several women who have accused Russell Simmons of sexual abuse has found a distributor after Oprah Winfrey’s exit from the film left it in the lurch.

HBO Max on Monday said it acquired Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering’s film, “On the Record,” following its premiere last week at the Sundance Film Festival. Along with other stories, “On the Record” tracks the decision of music executive Drew Dixon to publicly state that her then-boss Simmons raped her at his New York home in 1995.

Simmons, the co-founder of Def Jam Recordings, has denied all accusations of sexual abuse.

“On the Record” had been set to be released by Apple TV Plus, with Winfrey as an executive producer. But in the weeks ahead of the film’s Sundance premiere, Winfrey departed the film because she said she that while she believed Dixon, she felt more reporting was needed on her story.

Yet “On the Record” made a strong impression at Sundance, where standing ovations greeted Dixon and other accusers, including Sil Lai Abrams and Sheri Hines. Critics called the film a powerful documentary that brings issues of race into #MeToo discussions.

“The fierce determination of Drew Dixon and all the women who bravely chose to share their stories in ‘On the Record’ moved us profoundly,” said Sarah Aubrey, head of original content at HBO Max, in a statement.

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