Reactions To Trailer For Upcoming Documentary Featuring Russell Simmons’s Accusers

The long-awaited reveal of the documentary involving Russell Simmons’s accusers is finally here. After months of controversy – including backlash against Oprah Winfrey for lending her name to the project and then removing her participation due to creative differences – HBO Max has released an almost three-minute trailer for the release of the documentary for next month. 

Russell Simmons
Russell Simmons 2017 | Tiffany Rose/Getty Images for Make A Wish

What does the trailer for ‘On The Record’ show?

The documentary was initially debuted at Sundance this past February following Winfrey’s decision to back out and its original streaming service pulling out along with the media maven. HBO Max picked it up and promised to deliver the story sometime this year for the women’s stories to be heard.

Source: Instagram

The trailer for the documentary is centered around Drew Dixon, former A&R of Def Jam Records. Dixon worked under Simmons and played a role in the release of music for artists like Mary J. Blige, The Notorious B.I.G. and 2Pac. She looked to Simmons as a mentor but alleges that he violently raped her at his home in 1995.

Source: YouTube

Dixon became the first woman to speak out against Simmons, and the documentary shows the emotional aftermath of her going public. The film shows that there were other women who became aware of Dixon’s story and refused to speak out unless Dixon did. 

Social media users react to ‘On The Record’ trailer

The general consensus online since the trailer was released is one of support. For many, the documentary represents another opportunity for sexual assault victims, specifically women of color, to share their stories. many feel Black women, in particular, are silenced or afraid to come forward for fear of not being believed. 

“So, EYE am tired. TIRED. But I hope #OnTheRecord will change the tide. Forget creative differences or whether this documentary is ready.,” one wrote. “Folks will come up w/ any excuse but I just want Black women and girls to be believed.”

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“I hope this addition to the canon of Black women trying to get folks to give a damn about our well being is a turning point in our society #OnTheRecord,” another chimed in.

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One user noted a specific quote from Dixon in regards to why she was hesitant to come forward as the most compelling part of the trailer. 

“The part where Drew Dixon said “I didn’t want to let the culture down”, I was like f*** the culture – the culture isn’t worth losing your dignity. #hiphop #hbo #OnTheRecord,” one exclaimed.

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Others were thankful that despite the early controversy surrounding the documentary, it still found a home with HBO Max.

“THANK YOU @hbomax for presenting this urgently needed documentary on your platform,” added another.

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“I’m definitely tuning in to #OnTheRecord,” one promised.

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Russell Simmons has denied any wrongdoing 

After more women came forward accusing Simmons of sexual assault, he released statements to insist that he was innocent. In 2017, he responded to writer Janet Lumet’s allegation that he assaulted her in her apartment in 1991. 

Source: Instagram

“While her memory of that evening is very different from mine, it is now clear to me that her feelings of fear and intimidation are real,” the statement read in part. “While I have never been violent, I have been thoughtless and insensitive in some of my relationships over many decades and I sincerely and humbly apologize.”

Simmons’s response to all of the allegations have been similar: he has admitted to having relationships with the women but insists that they were consensual. He’s also noted that he partook in a bachelor and womanizing lifestyle, which he says he now regrets. 

In response to the documentary, he is adamantly against it. Most of his anger about the documentary was initially targeted to Winfrey before she removed her involvement. 

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Dearest OPRAH,you have been a shining light to my family and my community. Contributing so much to my life that I couldn’t list a fraction of it in this blog.Ihave given you the gift of meditation and the groundbreaking book”THE POWER OF NOW “we bonded to say the least. This is why it’s so troubling that you choose me to single out in your recent documentry. I have already admitted to being a playboy more (appropriately titled today “womanizer”) sleeping with and putting myself in more compromising situations than almost any man I know. Not 8 or 14 thousand like Warren Beatty or Wilt Chamberlain, but still an embarrassing number. So many that some could reinterpret or reimagine a different recollection of the same experiences. Please note that ur producers said that this upcoming doc was to focus ONLY 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”. Today I received a call from an old girlfriend from the early 1980s which means that they are using my words/evidence against me and their COMMITMENT/ (all of the claims are 25 to 40 years old) It is impossible to prove what happened 40 years ago, but in my case proof exists of what didn’t happen, mostly signed letters from their own parents, siblings, roommates, band members, interns, and in the case of 2 of your 3 accusers,their own words in their books. Shocking how many people have misused this important powerful revolution for relevance and money. … In closing, I am guilty of exploiting, supporting, and making the soundtrack for a grossly unequal society, but i have never been violent or forced myself on anyone. Still I am here to help support a necessary shift in power and consciousness. Let us get to work on uplifting humanity and put this moment and old narrative behind us

A post shared by Russell Simmons (@unclerush) on

Source: Instagram

Simmons says he’s taken and passed several lie detector tests to prove his innocence and has spoken out on his support for the #MeToo movement. 

The documentary is set to air May 27 as part of HBO Max’s official launch. As of now, there have not been any current charges brought against Simmons.