“At the time, I thought it was a game…. There was no black actress I had ever dated and they are my friends today, “said Simmons on a long-standing radio show. “They don’t have the experience of me being a monster that the film makes me believe. ”
He added later, “I can never say that someone does not feel victimized. I can tell you that I don’t think I victimized him. ”
Shortly after the publication of the online interview, Sil Lai Abrams – one of Russell’s accusers featured in On file – criticized Twitter The breakfast club for giving his alleged attacker a platform. (Prior to this interview, Simmons had already vehemently denied all allegations of non-consensual sex.)
“Why are you carrying water for this man? Tweeted Abrams, who claims Simmons raped her in 1994. “Why now? Why are you so deaf? You are all accomplices in ensuring that the right of black women to bodily autonomy continues to be denied. You are also rape apologists. ”
“I wrote about rape in my first and second books. 2007 and 2016 respectively, “added Abrams, responding to a Twitter user wondering why she” relitigates 30-year stories. ” She also wrote that Simmons receiving airtime in 2020 makes her “sick.”
“The largest radio program in the black community has just given a huge middle finger to black women and survivors of sexual assault,” Abrams wrote in another tweet. “Stunts like what @breakfastclubam is getting this morning by asking Russell Simmons to talk about * social justice of all things * which is why it took over 25 years for R. Kelly to start being held responsible for his predation in series on black women and girls. ”
Simmons said in his interview that he has yet to watch On the Record, which also features accounts from Abrams’ accusing colleagues Drew Dixon and Sheri Sher – women who have also alleged rape against Simmons.
Although Time’s Up did not externally support the documentary, the organization responded to Breakfast Club interview with a statement defending the women who appeared in the film.
“Black survivors face a number of historical, cultural and systemic barriers to being heard, supported and believed,” said the statement in part. “Immediately before an emotional conversation about police brutality against black women on The breakfast club this morning Russell Simmons peddled many myths about sexual assault, stereotypes about black women and factual distortion by denying the multiple allegations of sexual assault against him. ”
Oprah Winfrey in December was announced as executive producer of On the Record. At the time, Simmons publicly questioned Winfrey’s involvement, writing on Instagram: “I have never been violent or imposed myself on anyone. ”
Just before its premiere in January at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, Winfrey and distributor Apple TV + left the project, Winfrey citing creative differences with the filmmakers. “There is still work to be done on the film to shed light on the full extent of what the victims have endured,” said Winfrey in part in a statement. “I want to let it be known that I unequivocally believe and support women. ”
HBO Max recovered the documentary in February after its debut at Sundance; and it is now available for broadcast on the new platform, which was launched on May 27.
This article was originally published on THR.com.