HBO snatches up the Russell Simmons documentary after Oprah bows out

Russell Simmons discusses the documentary Romeo Is Bleeding (Photo by Derrel Jazz Johnson for Steed Media Service)
Russell Simmons discusses the documentary Romeo Is Bleeding (Photo by Derrel Jazz Johnson for Steed Media Service)

HBO surprised no one when it announced it bought and will air the inflammatory Russell Simmons documentary that accuses the music mogul of raping several employees back in the day.

This is the same cable network that aired the damning docu-series “Leaving Neverland,” which convinced many people that Michael Jackson sexually assaulted several boys during the apex of the Thriller maker’s career.

Oprah Winfrey famously pulled out of the documentary, “On the Record,” just before it premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in suburban Salt Lake City at the end of January. Without the billionaire OWN founder’s backing and blessing, “On the Record” also lost its distribution with Apple TV+.

“On the Record,” directed and produced by Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering, has now been picked up by HBO, Entertainment Weekly reports and shares the alleged rape account of Drew Dixon — former music executive and employee of Russell Simmons.

According to the news release obtained by Entertainment Weekly, the series is “delving deeply into the ways women of colors’ voices are all too often silenced and ignored when reporting these crimes; as well as the various cultural forces that conspire to make them reluctant to do so.”

For her part, Winfrey told CBS’ Gayle King, said “On the Record” docu-series was an important and believable story, but that it was an unfinished and rushed project.

“I believe that the women’s voices deserve to be heard, and as an executive producer I also was in a position where I thought some things were not right,” she said. “I wanted the context of the story to be broadened, I wanted more women brought into the story.”

Terry Shropshire
Terry Shropshire

A military veteran and Buckeye State native, I've written for the likes of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Atlanta Business Chronicle and the Detroit Free Press. I'm a lover of words, photography, books, travel, animals and The Ohio State Buckeyes. #GoBucks



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