Oprah quits sexual harassment documentary slated for Sundance and Apple TV Plus

Oprah Book Club

Oprah was one of the stars at Apple’s launch event for Apple TV Plus last year.


One of Apple’s most high profile new projects for its Apple TV Plus video service has hit a snag as Oprah Winfrey announced Friday she’ll no longer be executive producer for an untitled documentary about sexual harassment in the industry.

The documentary, being created by Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering, known for an Oscar-nominated 2012 documentary on sexual harassment in the military called The Invisible War, this time focused on rape allegations again music mogul Russell Simmons. The documentary, scheduled for release on Jan. 25 at the Sundance Film Festival, is also slated to be published on Apple TV Plus.

Oprah said in her statement that she didn’t believe the film was complete, and that creative differences ultimately led her to step aside. “First and foremost, I want it to be known that I unequivocally believe and support the women,” she said in a statement provided to CBS News and earlier published by The Hollywood Reporter. “Their stories deserve to be told and heard. 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.”

The Dick and Ziering said, however, that their film is still on track to premiere later this month at Sundance. 

“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 said in a joint statement. “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.”

Apple didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

The move marks an unusual setback for Apple, which is known for carefully choreographing its product releases. But this is no ordinary product, either. Apple TV Plus, a $4.99 per month subscription, is a new venture for the tech giant, aimed at helping to expand the services it offers alongside its iPhones, iPads and Mac computers. The company’s also offering a video game service, called Apple Arcade, a news service called Apple News Plus and an Apple-branded credit card. Together, analysts believe Apple is trying to build up businesses that can weather ebbs and flows in Apple’s sales of iPhones, which make up about half its revenue.


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