Russell Simmons Accuser Drew Dixon Blasts Variety for Publishing Her Texts Without Consent

Former Def Jam executive says she feels “violated” by an article about her and her “On the Record” documentary

Drew Dixon
Photo: Della Williams

Drew Dixon, who spoke about her accusation of rape against Russell Simmons in the 2020 documentary “On the Record,” lashed out at Variety and its leadership Saturday for publishing the contents of her text messages without permission.

“I stand by @OnTheRecordDoc,” the former Def Jam executive tweeted. “I’m disgusted that @Variety printed my private text messages w/o my consent. I feel violated by [executive editor Ramin Setoodeh] and [editor-in-chief Claudia Eller]. Russell Simmons is a rapist. Period. I’m grateful to @janedoefilms for giving a voice to Black survivors.”

The piece in question cited texts from Dixon that said she felt producers of the HBO Max documentary had been “triggering” her in the final months leading up to its premiere. Broadly, the piece focused on Jane Doe Films, which made not only “On the Record,” but “Allen v. Farrow,” and highlighted reported negative experiences of Alexia Norton Jones, who also accused Simmons of rape. Dixon also retweeted others questioning the timing of the piece and whether its intent was “to undermine these important filmmakers.” A representative for Variety did not immediately return a request for comment.

“It breaks my heart that Alexia Norton Jones was further traumatized. My private text messages were also shared with her out of context by @WalkerMarchant to create strife. It’s so upsetting. She’s a wonderful woman, who deserves nothing but joy. Sadly, Russell Simmons wins again,” tweeted Dixon, who repeatedly expressed that the article was a positive for subjects Simmons and Woody Allen at the expense of the women who participated.

Jane Doe Films released a statement on the production company’s official Twitter account, saying in part, “For many years, we have worked extremely hard to make films that lift up the voices of sexual assault survivors in the hopes this would help them heal, raise broader social awareness around these issues, and inspire cultural change. We are very sad to hear that Ms. Norton Jones was unhappy with her experience. We have the utmost respect and gratitude to Ms. Norton Jones for being courageous enough to share her story, and we truly wish her all the best.”

The statement went on to say that in the filmmakers’ quest to challenge “powerful entrenced interests to have preyed on the less powerful,” they’ve encountered “those powerful interests and those who work for them” and found they seek to undermine their films. “We accept this as part of the challenge both we and survivors constantly face,” they said.

Dixon, who has said Simmons violently raped her in 1995, celebrated her participation in the film during TheWrap’s Power Women Summit last December, saying that keeping silent only further victimized her — and that speaking out allowed her to reclaim parts of herself that she had buried away for so long.

“For the 22 years that I didn’t tell anyone, I thought I was liberating myself from the burden of this association. And once I said it, I realized I was actually free from that for the first time in my life,” Dixon said. “I spent so much time trying not to be a rape victim that I actually was victimizing myself by trapping myself in this tiny little playable area of this tiny little corner of the gameboard or the desktop that was the only space that I allowed myself to operate in because I didn’t want to accidentally bleed out of my little secret cover-up for his sake, thinking it was for my sake too.”

But when she finally went public, Dixon said she finally felt the freedom to be herself again.


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