Russell Simmons Sexual Assault Doc On the Record Gets First Trailer from HBO Max
The controversial documentary about the women who came forward about Russell Simmons allegedly sexual assaulting them now has a trailer and release date.
On Tuesday, HBO Max debuted the first official trailer for On the Record, which is set to premiere on May 27 with the launch of the brand-new streaming service. The film follows the story of Sil Lai Abrams and Sheri Sher while centering on Drew Dixon as she grapples with the decision to publicly share her experience during the changing tides of the #MeToo movement.
“I’ve been a victim for 22 years,” says Dixon in the trailer. “I’m tired of being a victim.”
In 2017, Dixon told The New York Times she was working her “dream job” as an executive at Def Jam Recordings in 1995 but allegedly dealt with “prolonged and aggressive sexual harassment” by Simmons, who co-founded the label. More women have spoken out with similar claims against Simmons, including accusations of rape.
Simmons, 62, has consistently denied the allegations.
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On the Record is directed by Amy Ziering and Kirby Dick, who previously helmed the college campus sexual assault doc The Hunting Ground, for which Lady Gaga contributed an Oscar-nominated original song titled “Til It Happens to You.”
In January, just before the film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, Oprah Winfrey announced that she would no longer lend her name as executive producer on the movie. The media mogul, 66, felt, at the time, that the movie was still a work in progress.
“First and foremost, I want it to be known that I unequivocally believe and support the women. Their stories deserve to be told and heard,” said Winfrey in a statement at the time. “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.”
She added: “Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering are talented filmmakers. I have great respect for their mission but given the filmmakers’ desire to premiere the film at the Sundance Film Festival before I believe it is complete, I feel it’s best to step aside.”
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Simmons denounced the documentary in January, issuing a lengthy statement on Instagram in which he said he wanted to “put this moment and old narrative behind us.”
“I am guilty of exploiting, supporting, and making the soundtrack for a grossly unequal society, i have even been unconsciously callous , but i have never been violent or forced myself on anyone,” wrote Simmons in the post.
In a statement obtained by PEOPLE after Winfrey backed out of the project, filmmakers Dick and Ziering said the women featured in the doc exhibit “extraordinary strength and courage by raising their voices to address sexual abuse in the music industry.”
“The #MeToo experiences of Black women deserve to be heard, especially against powerful men….,” read the statement. “… 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.”
On the Record will be available to stream on May 27 on HBO Max.
If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, please contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673) or go to online.rainn.org.