Russell Simmons Accuser Doc 'On the Record' Lands at HBO Max

Untitled Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering Film -Documentary- SPLASH 2020
Courtesy of Sundance Institute/Photo by Omar Mullick

The news of the pickup comes weeks after executive producer Oprah Winfrey and distributor AppleTV+ suddenly withdrew their involvement.

After losing distribution only two weeks before its Sundance premiere, the Russell Simmons accuser documentary On the Record has found a new home.

In its first-ever festival acquisition, HBO Max has picked up the film from Oscar-nominated directors Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering.

On the Record tells the stories of Simmons' accusers, including former Def Jam executive Drew Dixon, as they decide to go public with their claims of sexual harassment and assault at the hands of the Def Jam music mogul. The stories of Sil Lai Abrams, Sheri Hines, Jenny Lumet and Alexia Norton Jones also appear in the doc.

Dick and Ziering produced On the Record via their Jane Doe Films with Dan Cogan for Impact Partners, while Regina K. Scully for Artemis Rising, Ian Darling for Shark Island and Abigail Disney for Level Forward served as executive producers. 

The news of the pickup comes a couple weeks after executive producer Oprah Winfrey and distributor AppleTV+ suddenly withdrew their involvement with On the Record, with Winfrey citing creative differences with the filmmakers as the reason for her cutting ties with the project.

At the movie's Sundance premiere, the audience gave the doc multiple standing ovations. With its festival reviews, On the Record currently sits at a 100 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, while The Hollywood Reporter's Beandrea July called the film "a stunning feat of complexity that’s both contained and expansive." 

“The fierce determination of Drew Dixon and all of the women who bravely chose to share their stories in On the Record moved us profoundly,” Sarah Aubrey, head of original content at HBO Max, said Monday in a statement. “I’ve been impressed with Amy and Kirby’s work over the years covering this complex subject matter, and look forward to this film finding the widest possible audience.”

Added Ziering: “Kirby and I are so proud to be teaming with HBO Max to give this film the outstanding platform it deserves and can’t wait for the public to see and hear the voices of these courageous women."

UTA Independent Film Group brokered the deal on behalf of the filmmakers.