Oprah Winfrey has followed in the footsteps of “Shark Tank” star Daymond John and removed Russell Simmons’ contributions from her book. Initially released in October, “The Wisdom of Sundays” will no longer feature Simmons’ advice on “mindfulness” and “grace and gratitude” within its pages.
Publisher Flatiron Books revealed the news to The New York Times Wednesday, Jan. 31 through spokesperson Marlena Bittner. The news follows Simmons’ mounting sexual assault claims — including a lawsuit from filmmaker Jennifer Jarosik, who alleged he raped her in 2016. Plus the New York Police Department has launched a probe into two rape allegations.
Simmons has denied such allegations and had launched — and paused — #NotMe, a campaign to prove he did not rape several of his accusers.
Bittner said removing Simmons’ chapters and his epilogue from the spirituality book, which includes interviews with Iyanla Vanzant and self-help author Eckhart Tolle, was a joint decision between the publisher and Winfrey, a #MeToo supporter. She did not detail when the choice was made but noted future editions of the book, which will be sold in stores this month, won’t include his reflections on wealth or the impact meditation has had on his life among others.
The move comes after John announced the decision to remove Simmons from his book, “Rise and Grind,” in December. As a friend of Simmons, the FUBU CEO initially wanted to leave the Def Jam Recordings’ co-founder’s features in the book about achieving success.
John told Forbes the two have had a long friendship and that Simmons can “keep things real.” Regarding Simmons’ sexual assault and rape allegations, John said Simmons has never lied about them and at no point in time did he make them a secret, noting that Simmons formerly indulged in “a lot of drugs and a lot of bad things.”
Yet when screenwriter Jenny Lumet shared her story of how Simmons sexually violated her, John changed his mind.
“More than two weeks ago, I made the decision to stop printing the finished book in order to remove Russell’s chapter,” John said in part in a statement.
He told Wendy Williams more about the choice in January ahead of the book’s release, noting it was a hard decision to take Simmons out of the book because he’s like a father figure.”
“I had a conversation with him and he said, ‘With all of the things that are going on in my life, I don’t want to take away from this book motivating and changing people’s lives,’” he said. “‘And just like I’m taking my name off a lot of my companies, you should also take me out of the book. Let’s not blur the intent of the book.’”