Oprah Winfrey has defended her decision to step away from the Russell Simmons documentary, which will premiere at the Sundance Film Festival later this month.
But Winfrey says that despite her walking away, it does not mean that her withdrawal equates to a win for Simmons.
"This is not a victory for Russell," she said during her appearance on CBS This Morning. "I unequivocally say that I did not pull out because of Russell. This is not a victory lap for him. I cannot be silenced by a Russell Simmons after all I've been through."
Winfrey said that she believed the project needed to be pulled from its Sundance slot in the Documentary Premieres section, and told the filmmaking team that if that didn't happen she would exit.
"I had said to them, 'Houston, I think we have a problem here,' because new information had come forward," she said. "I don't care about awards — I just care about getting it right, and I think there's some inconsistencies in the stories that we need to look at. I wanted the context of the story to be broadened, I wanted more women brought into the story."
The On the Record filmmakers confirmed to Deadline that they are moving ahead with the documentary's rollout.
"Revealing hard truths is never easy, and the women in our documentary are all showing extraordinary strength and courage by raising their voices to address sexual abuse in the music industry," Dick and Ziering said last week. "While we are disappointed that Oprah Winfrey is no longer an Executive Producer on the project, we are gratified that Winfrey has unequivocally said she believes and supports the survivors in the film."
Simmons has denied all allegations of sexual assault.