Can a well-known particular person be too colossal to assassinate? It’s progressively said we fabricate our heroes up simply to knock them down, eagerly looking ahead to the 2d when some well-known particular person athlete goes from GOAT to infamous, or a pop superstar will get lambasted for asserting something tedious on Instagram, or a congressman is nailed in a corruption sting. And bound, as of late there’s been an overdue reckoning for well off and mighty males, after decades of piggish behavior. Nevertheless let’s no longer kid ourselves. Every time there are 1000’s and 1000’s of bucks to be made—or even when jailing or sidelining an entrenched bigwig is very inconvenient—our social and cultural institutions remain willing to explore the a quantity of procedure. These that’ve been credibly accused of sexual assault protect getting performed on the radio, protect getting hailed as legends by sportscasters, protect getting requested to seem on television as educated insiders, and protect getting counseled in political campaigns.
The documentary On The Myth has been described as a movie concerning the secret life of hip-hop impresario Russell Simmons, and concerning the just a few girls folks—and in explicit one girl, Drew Dixon—who have accused him of sexual harassment and rape. Nevertheless that description puts too blunt some extent on the yarn Dixon tells right here, and on the repercussions that the doc’s co-directors, Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering, intend to explore. This isn’t a movie about a well off one that can even just have gotten away with inferior crimes. On The Myth is extra about a blow their own horns industry machine sick-designed to job the friction these forms of accusations maintain. It’s moreover about how some remarkably gifted folks discontinue up getting squashed, to care for the gears of profit well greased.
Even if Dixon’s yarn didn’t grab a tragic flip, it’d be price telling. The daughter of two high-level D.C. politicians—her mom, Sharon Pratt, used to be the city’s mayor within the early ’90s—Dixon developed a adore of music at an early age, and became hip-hop and R&B as a teen. She joined Def Jam within the A&R division, and horny away showed an ear for skill and a knack for packaging. She had a a hit urge on the sign, serving as an executive producer and artist-wrangler on the platinum-promoting soundtrack for the documentary The Attach. Then she says her boss, Simmons, started taking an ardour in her as extra than only a promising younger colleague.
On The Myth interweaves Dixon’s upward thrust to prominence within the ’90s music industry with scenes station within the blow their own horns day, as she considers whether to affix a rising list of ladies folks accusing the Def Jam cofounder of sexual misconduct. Dick and Ziering grab a quantity of approaches to the movie’s two halves, making the long-established subject subject a suspenseful “you’re there” observational doc and the flashbacks extra of a pop history lesson, buoyed by an impassioned testimonial. Each factors count closely on Dixon’s natural charisma. She’s just firm, whether talking about how great pleasure she took in working with the likes of Bone Thugs-N-Cohesion and Mary J. Blige or explaining how shattering it used to be when her time at Def Jam came to an discontinue, no longer long after the alleged rape.
The descriptions of Simmons’ alleged assaults—detailed by no longer only Dixon nevertheless moreover just a few of the a quantity of girls folks who have gone public—are exhausting to listen to. They’re moreover upsetting within the similarities between the reports: in both the particulars of the incidents and within the procedure in which they left the girls folks feeling pressured, ashamed, and hopeless—and treasure they’d no selection nevertheless to upend their lives and restart careers they’d spent years constructing.
It’s aggravating in a obvious procedure when Dixon will get into her 2d act within the replace. She moved to Arista Records, and helped nurture a string of high forty and Grammy-a hit records from Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston, Lauryn Hill, Santana, and extra. Then Clive Davis stepped down as Arista president, and L.A. Reid stepped up, at which point—based mostly completely completely on Dixon—she had to fend off one other boss’ sexual advances. The working relationship soured, and Dixon says that, as a consequence, Arista missed out on signing some artists she used to be touting, including Kanye West and John Myth.
Sooner than On The Myth’s Sundance debut earlier this year, the news broke that Oprah Winfrey, the doc’s long-established producer, had pulled her toughen (and the Apple TV+ deal that came with it). She’d reportedly confirmed the movie to depended on mates who puzzled some factors of Dixon’s yarn, and who puzzled if Winfrey—by the utilization of a pair of white filmmakers, no much less—desires to be taking plot at two Sunless males who are such towering figures in American favorite culture. The latter criticism is addressed to an extent within the documentary, as just a few of the interviewees admit to feeling a deep inside resistance to disturbing a pioneer treasure Simmons.
Nevertheless that’s within the extinguish the phenomenon this mighty movie is exploring. There’s a unparalleled sequence slack within the documentary, after Dixon goes public, where she listens to a hip-hop radio blow their own horns looking ahead to to be pilloried and is as a replace taken aback to listen to a panel of DJs beating themselves up, for no longer being extra trusty with the public about things they’d both heard or considered themselves. Meanwhile, as Dixon tries as soon as extra to advance to music—assist to sq. one, working with a younger singer-songwriter—Dick and Ziering build apart together a montage exhibiting Simmons quiet exhibiting on journal covers, and quiet being invited to hunt the advice of with TV and movie crews about his inspirational entrepreneurial yarn. Perchance doubtlessly the most chilling point On The Myth makes is that it doesn’t regularly grab just exoneration to restore a scandal-plagued particular person’s reputation. Once in a while, the culture naturally gravitates assist to a yarn that’s more straightforward to expose