Lady Gaga apologises for R Kelly song and vows to remove it from streaming services: 'I stand behind these women'

Pop star vows to remove collaboration 'Do What U Want' from iTunes and streaming services

Roisin O'Connor
Music Correspondent
Thursday 10 January 2019 07:53 GMT
Survivng R Kelly: the docuseries - trailer

Lady Gaga has apologised over her collaboration with controversial R&B singer R Kelly, and vowed to have it removed from streaming services.

Kelly is the subject of a new documentary that details the multiple allegations that he sexually abused women and underage girls. He has consistently and vehemently denied the allegations over the past two decades.

Gaga released the ARTPOP single “Do What U Want” featuring Kelly in 2013. She came under scrutiny towards the end of last year, after the producer of Surviving R Kelly claimed she had been approached to be interviewed in the documentary, but declined.

In a statement on Twitter posted on 10 January, Gaga wrote: “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.

“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 added: “I can’t go back, but I can go forward and continue to support women, men and people of all sexual identities, and of all races, who are victims of sexual assault. I have demonstrated my stance on this issue and others many times throughout my career. I share this not to make excuses for myself, but to explain. Til it happens to you, you don’t know how it feels. But I do know how I feel now.

“I intend to remove this song off of iTunes and other streaming platforms and will not be working with him [Kelly] again. I’m sorry, both for my poor judgement when I was young, and for not speaking out sooner.”

Survivng R Kelly: the docuseries - trailer

Gaga has long been an advocate of sexual assault survivors. In 2014, she revealed that she had been sexually assaulted when she was 19, and a year later released the song “Til it Happens to You” for The Hunting Round, a documentary about sexual assault on college campuses.

In 2015, she wrote an op-ed with New York governor Andrew Cuomo urging lawmakers to support policies to combat sexual assault. The state’s “Enough is Enough” legislation was passed shortly after.

Lifetime’s six-part documentary, which will be available to watch in the UK from 5 February on the Crime + Investigation channel, features interviews with musicians and producers including John Legend, as well as testimony from Kelly’s former wife, ex-girlfriends, family members, #MeToo founder Tarana Burke, and a number of Kelly’s alleged victims.

Earlier this week, sources in multiple publications reported that the Fulton County District Attorney’s office is currently investigating the sexual abuse allegations made against Kelly in the documentary.

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