Last week Oprah backed out as an executive producer on a documentary about four women who levied sexual assault allegations against Russell Simmons and I was like, huh? The details of Oprah’s departure were a little muddy and it left some people wondering if removing herself from the project meant she was questioning the stories of the survivors.
Never one to be misunderstood, Winfrey made her feelings clear in a statement saying, “I want it to be known that I unequivocally believe and support the women. Their stories deserve to be told and heard.” Apparently Winfrey’s decision to back out of the project had to do with filmmakers Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering’s decision to premiere the documentary, titled On the Record, at the Sundance Film Festival, which Oprah felt unnecessarily rushed the project.
What her decision definitely didn’t have to do with though, was pressure from Russell Simmons who wanted her to remove herself from the project. Simmons, who had previously taken to Instagram to share his frustrations with Oprah, apparently also tried to persuade her offline as well, “He did reach out multiple times and attempted to pressure me,” Winfrey said.
I don’t know how Simmons thought his conversations were going to go, but “pressuring Oprah” is not something that’s high on my list of things I believe to be easily achieved. And although she will no longer be working on the project, a spokesperson has made it clear her decision had to with with “inconsistencies in the documentary’s reporting” and absolutely nothing to do with influence from Simmons. [Page Six]
Accused rapist Harvey Weinstein doesn’t think he’ll be given a fair shot in his upcoming trial because, according to legal documents filed on Friday by Weinstein’s attorney Arthur Aidala, the jury has been infiltrated by “stealth jurors,” which sounds like a something cut from a Star Wars plot, but is apparently real.
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The “stealth jurors,” according to Weinstein and Aidala, are members of the jury who have sworn to be impartial but are actually not impartial at all, which is why the defense is now asking for a change of venue.
As evidence of this stealth infiltration, Aidala cited posts on social media from two jurors who were not selected, but who had previously promised impartiality should they be chose. “Harvey you cant [sic] act for sh*t with that walker you made it look like a prize on The Price is Right. Also they’re gonna crucify you.” wrote one not-selected juror on Facebook, while another wrote “Goodbye Jury Duty. And goodbye Harvey Weinstein. I hope they convict you on all counts...” before adding, “I was told not to talk about the trial if I was a juror...I don’t know if it’s my past as a lawyer or my past at Disney but I’m free for the next 4 years- unlike Harvey!”
The jury and venue are likely to remain unchanged because the jury’s already been selected and opening arguments are set for this week, but a judge has yet to make a final decision on the threat caused by these potential “stealth jurors” so I guess we’ll have to wait and see. [TMZ]
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