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Oprah Winfrey Says Russell Simmons Attempted to Pressure Her to Drop Out of Documentary

Oprah Winfrey Says Russell Simmons Attempted to Pressure Her to Drop Out of Documentary

Oprah Winfrey was originally going to be an executive producer on an upcoming documentary about women who have accused Russell Simmons of sexual misconduct, but she has dropped out of the project.

The media mogul and former talk show host has pulled the movie from her slate at Apple over creative differences with the filmmakers.

Now, Oprah has revealed that Russell actually attempted to pressure her into exiting the project.

“He did reach out multiple times and attempted to pressure me,” Oprah told The New York Times. He told her that the woman at the center of the film was lying, but she says she still believed her, though there were some inconsistencies with her account.

“I told him directly in a phone call that I will not be pressured either into, or out of, backing this film,” she said. “I am only going to do what I believe to be the right thing.”

Oprah received some guidance from her friend, filmmaker Ava DuVernay.

“She’s got Simmons on one side pressuring her, and then she’s got a film on the other side that she doesn’t agree with,” Ava said. “So if she walks away from the film she seems like she’s caving to Simmons, and if she stays with the film then she’s putting her name on something that she feels doesn’t quite hit the mark.”

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Photos: Getty
Posted to: Oprah Winfrey, Russell Simmons

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