Culture

R. Kelly’s Manager Charged for Threats of ‘Surviving R. Kelly’ Screening

The incident caused the New York Surviving R. Kelly screening to be evacuated.

On Friday, the United States Department of Justice announced it was charging R. Kelly‘s former manager, Donnell Russell, with two counts of threatening physical harm by interstate communication. The charges stem from an incident on December 4, 2018 where Russell allegedly threatened a shooting at the NeueHouse Theater screening of Surviving R. Kelly.

“As alleged, Donnell Russell used threats of violence to stop a screening of a docuseries devoted to exploring allegations of sexual abuse against women and minor girls,” said U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss. “By allegedly threatening a shooting at the theater, Russell prevented the screening, which was attended by a number of R. Kelly’s alleged victims…we are committed to aggressively investigating and prosecuting such crimes.”

On Wednesday, the Eastern District of New York filed charges against Russell and two other R. Kelly associates. The men are accused of harassing, threatening, intimidating and bribing multiple of Kelly’s victims.

According to the prosecutors, Russell and another individual drafted messages to Lifetime executives, discouraging the network for airing the series. Russell also allegedly called the NYPD and fire department to disrupt the screening. Russell admitted that he sent a “cease and desist” letter to the theater to stop the screening from occurring. Finally, when these attempts failed, Russell then contacted a theater employee by phone to say there was an armed individual in the theater.

On Thursday, Eastern District Magistrate Judge Peggy Koo approved a $75,000 bail for Russell.

“Each and every day, we do everything in our power to make sure victims of sexual abuse have the opportunity to be heard,” said FBI Assistant Director William F. Sweeney Jr. “And will continue to do so regardless of those who allegedly use violence as a means to stop them.”

Torry Threadcraft

Torry Threadcraft is a writer who covers music, sports, and culture. You can find his daily ramblings and culinary takes at @dreadcraft.

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