Oprah Winfrey backs out of Time's Up documentary, saying filmmakers are rushing through production

Jennifer Kline

Oprah Winfrey is pulling her support from a documentary that aims to investigate sexual assault in the music industry, citing her disapproval of the filmmakers' plan to "premiere the film at the Sundance Film Festival before I believe it is complete," she said in a statement to THR.

The finished documentary was slated for distribution by Apple TV Plus, but Winfrey's exit as executive producer means that plan is scrapped.

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"In my opinion, there is more work to be done on the film to illuminate the full scope of what the victims endured, and it has become clear that the filmmakers and I are not aligned in that creative vision," Winfrey told the Hollywood Reporter, adding that she believes the accusations outlined in the film.

The documentary is primarily focused on sexual assault and rape allegations leveled against famed record producer Russell Simmons. Multiple women have come forward with harrowing accounts of alleged encounters with Simmons.

In response to Winfrey's decision, the documentary's creators, Kirby Dirk and Amy Ziering, said they remain committed to their plan to screen the film at Sundance, which begins next week. They noted that the film is "more than two years in the making" and will be their eighth project to premiere at the annual film festival.

"The film is a beacon of hope for voices that have long been suppressed, and an inspiration for anyone wanting to regain their personal power," they told Deadline in a statement.

The alleged victims also released a statement, which read in part, "We will not back down, and we will not be silenced. We are not afraid."

Simmons has denied the allegations.

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