'Surviving R. Kelly' Producer Is 'at War With' Singer: 'This Is a Man Who Has Built Systems Around His Abuse'

Dream Hampton is not afraid of R. Kelly.

The executive producer of Lifetime's docuseries Surviving R. Kelly opened up on her ongoing "war" with the R&B singer during an interview with Shadow And Act, released ahead of the show's premiere on Thursday.

"When I said I'm at war with R. Kelly, this is what I meant. I don't ever want to underestimate him," Hampton, a 48-year-old filmmaker from Detroit, said. "This is a man who has built systems around his abuse, which is something that you'll see in the docuseries."

The six-part, three-night special aims to expose Kelly's long-standing pattern of mental, physical and sexual abuse of young girls and women throughout his nearly 30-year career. The docuseries includes commentary from a number of Kelly's victims, as well as friends, family members, cultural critics, industry veterans and psychological experts weighing in on the trauma Kelly's style of sexual misconduct could foster.

Hampton said she gathered a massive amount of material against Kelly, including his ex-wife Andrea Kelly's claims of the singer's pedophilia and physical and sexual abuse. "We have evidence of him raping underage girls, which is what sex with underage girls always is," Hampton said, referencing the many testimonies featured in docuseries.

"There are whole systems in place—housing, runners, rules. There are women decades apart testifying to the kinds of rules that they were subjected to living with this man, dealing with this man. There are hundreds, probably thousands of tapes made of them [by Kelly] without their permission," Hampton continued. "He's also deeply manipulative. These are women who didn't know each other, 20 years apart, and they'd be talking about being made to sign false confessions, and he'd say, 'This is my insurance that you don't hurt me the way these other women have hurt me.' So I knew we were dealing with someone that we may not want to dismiss. He's dangerous."

Born Robert Sylvester Kelly, the 51-year-old award-winning singer's sexual misconduct has long been the subject of rumor. His 1994 marriage to underage singer Aaliyah Haughton, who was 15 at the time, sparked outcry and controversy. As recently as 2017, Buzzfeed reported allegations by six women who claimed Kelly held them hostage in a sex cult.

Despite multiple claims over many years, Kelly has yet to face any legal consequences, including for a 2002 sex tape in which he was seen urinating and having sex with a girl believed to be only 14 years old. That went to trial, and the jury found Kelly not guilty.

Such incidents prompted Hampton to go full throttle with the docuseries. "R. Kelly is someone that we, my generation, should have dealt with a long time ago," she said.

She added: "At one point in the film, someone asked, 'Where was the outrage [at the height of musical success in the '90s]?' And that's just because a lot of this [outrage] was pre-digital, but it did exist. We did push back in the moment, but we didn't organize to shut him down, so there was this feeling of responsibility."

Kelly's lawyer Brian Nix threatened Lifetime with a lawsuit if the network aired the docuseries, which Nix said was "packed with lies," according to TMZ. However, the network decided to move forward with airing the show on Thursday.

Surviving R. Kelly will continue to air on Lifetime at 9 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.

'Surviving R. Kelly' Producer Is 'at War With' Singer: 'This Is a Man Who Has Built Systems Around His Abuse' | Culture