EXCLUSIVE, updated with accucers’ statement: Documentary filmmakers Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering have responded to the news this afternoon about Oprah Winfrey’s withdrawal as EP, and cancellation of AppleTV+ distribution on their upcoming untitled documentary about music executive Drew Dixon, who accused Russell Simmons of sexual misconduct. As we heard previously, the doc will still make its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival on Jan. 25 in the Documentary Section as indicated by the fimmakers below.
Below is Dick and Ziering’s response, exclusive to Deadline:
“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. 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.
The #MeToo experiences of black women deserve to be heard, especially against powerful men, so we will continue with our plans to bring the film to The Sundance Film Festival. This film, more than two years in the making, will be our eighth film to premiere at Sundance.
Simmons’ accusers issued a statement of their own on Monday:
We are more than victims of rape. We are Black women. We are mothers, daughters, sisters and friends insisting on our right to live and work free from sexual violence and abuse. We will not back down, and we will not be silenced. We are not afraid. When we raised our anguished voices to say, “No! Stop! Don’t” to Russell Simmons, he ignored us. Now, as we raise our voices in defiance of a culture that protects abusers and their enablers, he has tried to discredit us and to deny our truth. Russell Simmons and his enablers cannot intimidate us, bully us or ignore us. Unyielding as a force, united in our resolve, we are black women standing with survivors of all colors and we will not be silenced. #silenceisviolence #ustoo #lifteveryvoice #metoo
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.”