One of Apple’s most high-profile projects for its Apple TV Plus video service has hit a snag, with Oprah Winfrey revealing Friday she won’t be an executive producer for an untitled series on sexual harassment in the music industry anymore.
Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering, who is known for The Invisible War, a 2012 Oscar-nominated documentary about sexual harassment in the military, are making the film. Their new project focuses on allegations of rape against music mogul Russell Simmons and is due to be released at the Sundance Film Festival on Jan. 25. The documentary is also slated to be shown on Apple TV Plus.
In a statement, Winfrey said she didn’t think the movie was ready for Sundance 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,” In a statement sent to CBS News and previously published by The Hollywood Reporter, she said, “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.”
Dick and Ziering said the documentary is still on track to premiere at Sundance later this month. “The film is a beacon of hope for voices that have long been suppressed, and an inspiration for anyone wanting to regain their power,” they further 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’ reacted directly to a request for comment
The move marks an unexpected setback for Apple, known for carefully choreographing releases of its products. But nor is this any ordinary product. Apple TV Plus, a monthly subscription package of $4.99, is a recent tech giant initiative designed to help improve its offerings alongside its iPhones, iPads, and Mac computers. The business also offers a video game service called Apple Arcade, a news service called Apple News Plus, and a credit card sold by Apple. Analysts say Apple is trying to build businesses that can weather ebbs and flows in the company’s iPhone sales, which account for about half of its revenue.