Culture

Lady Gaga and More Celebrities Drop Support of R. Kelly Following Lifetime Documentary: 'I Stand Behind These Women 1000%'

Lady Gaga broke her silence on R. Kelly and vowed to remove a song the singers collaborated on from streaming services on Thursday.

Fans questioned Gaga’s support of the R&B superstar following Lifetime’s unsettling docuseries, Surviving R. Kelly, in which a number of Kelly’s alleged victims came forward with their stories of his alleged sexual, mental and physical abuse towards them. The outraged sparked in light of the six-part special apparently moved Gaga to finally address her working-relationship with Kelly, who appeared on her 2013 hit song, “Do What You Want (With My Body).”

In a lengthy message shared on Twitter early Tuesday morning, Gaga wrote: “I stand by anyone who has ever been the victim of sexual assault.”

The singer apologized to fans for her “poor judgment” by working with Kelly when she was younger and for waiting so long to speak out on the issue. "I stand behind these women 1000%, believe them, know they are suffering and in pain, and feel strongly that their voices should be heard and taken seriously," Gaga wrote.

"What I am hearing about the allegations against R Kelly is absolutely horrifying and indefensible. As a victim of sexual assault myself, I made both the song and video at a dark time in my life, my intention was to create something extremely defiant and provocative because I was angry and still hadn't processed the trauma that had occurred in my own life," she continued.

Gaga was one of the many major artists Dream Hampton, Surviving R. Kelly executive producer, contacted to appear in the Lifetime series. However, like many of Kelly’s high-profile collaborators, Gaga declined.

Award-winning singer John Legend was the only major musician to make an appearance in the special, which he said was an “easy decision.” 

Since the three-Night docuseries aired, several more celebs began speaking out against Kelly, including Legend’s wife, Chrissy Teigen, who wrote on Twitter, "f**k R. Kelly." 

Keke Palmer, who called herself a “student of R. Kelly’s,” wrote a lengthy post on Instagram sharing her reaction to the show on Wednesday. 

“I am hurt and saddened because [Kelly] could have been a blessing to these women but instead he repeatedly took advantage and that I can not accept. I will stand by my sisters because that's simply what’s right and what I hope discontinues this behavior in anyone,” she wrote. “We have to be good to each other, not all of us accept the light but those of us that do must be responsible!!!! We can not take advantage of each other or accept when someone else does."

Former B2K member Omarion, who credited the musician for writing a number of the male R&B group’s former hits, said he would no longer sing songs penned by Kelly following B2K’s upcoming reunion tour. “I pray that everyone effected [sic] by this tragedy gets the help & support they need to live a better life. When you know better, you do better,” he wrote

“While I know our fans would be greatly disappointed if we didn’t perform those songs on #TheMillennoumTour, after the tour I am retiring those songs from my set list. I too am raising a future queen,” he continued, adding the hashtag, “#A.A.R.T (Artists Acknowledging Responsibility & Truth).”  

Chance the Rapper ruffled feathers when he appeared on the docuseries and made the comment, “Maybe I didn't care because I didn't value the accusers.” He later apologized for his sentiment on social media on Saturday.

“The truth is any of us who ever ignored the R. Kelly stories, or ever believed he was being setup/attacked by the system (as black men often are) were doing so at the detriment of black women and girls, he wrote.

Jada Pinkett Smith, Meek Mill, Kathy Griffin, Sunny Hostin, Yvette Nicole Brown, Tank, Kerry Washington, Leslie Jones, and Ne-Yo have also criticized and removed their support of Kelly after the docuseries. 

The attention surrounding the Lifetime special, which was one of the network’s most-watched specials in its history, also reached law enforcement. A TMZ report claimed investigators contacted some witnesses involved in the Lifetime special after it aired last weekend. CNN also confirmed the District Attorney's Office of Georgia's Fulton County was launching an investigation into Kelly.

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