Winfrey is backing away from the untitled documentary from filmmakers Amy Ziering and Kirby Dick, weeks before the film is set to premiere at the Sundance Film Festival.
Winfrey joined the project as an executive producer and the doc was going to release as part of her overall deal with Apple TV Plus. The filmmakers must now seek a new distribution.
Oprah stepped down from her EP role in a statement that read, “There is more work to be done on the film to illuminate the full scope of what the victims endured.” She also noted that despite her leaving, she still supports the alleged victims. “I want it to be known that I unequivocally believe and support the women,” she wrote.
King is now giving more info about why Oprah left the project, NewsOne reports.
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“I know this was a very stressful and very difficult decision for her to take her name off because she knows that her taking her name off because, as you point out, Russell has done a very public and very private campaign to convince her, she knows that the message that sends is that maybe she was muzzled,” King said on “CBS This Morning” on Monday . “Nothing can be further from the case.”
When Oprah was initially attached to the documentary, Simmons called her out in an Instagram statement, saying, “Your doc is focused on 3 hand chosen women. I have refused to get in the mud with any accusers, but let’s acknowledge what i have shared. I have taken and passed nine 3-hour lie detector tests (taken for my daughters), that these stories have been passed on by CNN, NBC, BUZZFEED, NY POST, NY MAG, AND OTHERS. Now that you have reviewed the facts and you SHOULD have learned what I know; that these stories are UNUSABLE and that ‘hurt people hurt people.’”
King claims Oprah didn’t back out because of the backlash she received over targeting Black male predators.
“She thought that the documentary needed to breathe a little more,” King continued. “She thought that it was important that it be put in context for the times because you know these allegations [are] from many years ago and now we’re here in 2020. Put it in context of the times of what was going on there at that time.”