The gun threats that shut down the Tuesday night premiere of a docuseries about new allegations from women accusing R. Kelly of “abuse, predatory behavior, and pedophilia” came from the singer himself, the cable network that produced the three-night series reportedly said in no uncertain terms.
“This was an intimidation tactic from R. Kelly to further silence these women,” Lifetime said.
Some of those in attendance for the private screening of “Surviving R. Kelly” were “survivors” and parents of survivors,” according to Tarana Burke, the woman who gave birth to the “#MeToo” movement that seeks justice for victims of sexual misconduct.
According to People, the docuseries was barely underway at a New York City theater when viewers were interrupted and asked to leave the building immediately.
“There were several called in gun threats to NeueHouse,” Lifetime’s statement said in part. “With the safety of guests in mind, we decided to evacuate the theater.”
Word quickly spread on social media with many making the same accusation that the cable movie network did.
According to the Lifetime website devoted to the docuseries, “Surviving R. Kelly” features for “the first time ever, survivors and people from R. Kelly’s inner circle, are coming forward with new allegations about his sexual, mental, and physical abuse. They are now finally ready to share their full story and shed light on the secret life the public has never seen.”
Kelly, the self-proclaimed Pied Piper, has been accused of multiple sex scandals involving underage girls. He married the late singer Aaliyah in 1994 when she was just 15 and was acquitted of child pornography in 2008.
Similar allegations have steadily dogged him over the years, including one report in 2017 that accused him of operating a sex cult with young women lured into his circle by promises of advancing their music careers. Instead, he allegedly brainwashed them women and held them at his homes in Chicago and Atlanta. He also required the young women to call him “daddy” and would punish for disobedience. According to the claims, he also filmed his sexual encounters with his captives, a claim that matches the child pornography scandal that started in 2002.
Despite all of the above, R. Kelly has remained one of the world’s most popular and successful singers, having sold more than 40 million albums worldwide. He was still touring to sold-out shows as of the time of Tuesday night’s gun threats.
“Surviving R. Kelly” was scheduled to be televised on Jan. 3, 2019, with subsequent installments on Jan. 4 and 5.
R. Kelly did not immediately respond to Lifetime’s claims of “intimidation,” but social media certainly did, with many on Twitter also pointing their fingers at the singer — or at least his team — for being behind the gun threats.
See below for a sampling of consensus commentary from users on social media.