In the wake of Lifetime’s 2019 documentary Surviving R. Kelly, it seems that the format has become the go-to platform for addressing alleged sexual abuse for victims looking for justice. In March, HBO broadcast the controversial Leaving Neverland, in which two of Michael Jackson’s accusers shared their stories. Now, another film will seek to lay charges against a prominent musical figure. Los Angeles Times reports Oprah is producing a documentary about Russell Simmons’ alleged sexual abuse for Apple TV+ to air next year after debuting, like Leaving Neverland, at the Sundance Film Festival.
According to the report, the as-yet-untitled film will be executive produced by Winfrey, directed by Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering, and presented with the logline touting it as the story 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. The film is a profound examination of race, gender, class, and intersectionality, and the toll assaults take on their victims and society at large.” The announcement in the Sundance lineup revealed the executive in question as the recently disgraced Simmons, who in 2017 was accused of multiple sexual assaults in the ’90s.
Simmons stepped down from leadership of his companies and tried to defend his innocence with various campaigns and statements before ultimately opting to lie low as he awaited results of an NYPD investigation into the claims and had his dismissal request thrown out in court.