Update: Lifetime issued a statement about the incident, claiming this was an “intimidation tactic” from R.Kelly.
The statement says:
There were several called in gun threats to NeueHouse. With the safety of guests in mind, we decided to evacuate the theater…This was an intimidation tactic from R. Kelly to further silence these women.
Scroll down to see the original post.
Fortunately, no one was harmed.
A New York screening of an R. Kelly documentary was canceled after an anonymous caller threatened those in attendance.
Surviving R. Kelly was being shown at NeueHouse Madison Square when theater management received a threatening phone call, according to CNN. The unknown caller said that if the Lifetime documentary continued to play, someone inside the theater would start shooting. Upon receiving the threat the building was evacuated.
“As a precaution, the network chose to evacuate the building. The safety and security of our panel, guests and staff is of paramount importance to Lifetime,” the network said.
A spokesperson for NeueHouse Madison Square also offered a statement on the incident.
“We followed appropriate safety protocols in collaboration with the NYPD and elected to postpone the event. We stand by the creative women bringing these heroic stories to light.”
Some of the people in attendance included women who were abused by Kelly, as well as Tarana Burke, the activist who started the “Me Too” campaign before it became the #MeToo movement.
“We don’t want whoever tries to intimidate us and shut the situation down to feel like they won, because the doc will air and the stories will be told,” Burke said.
“These women who come forward to tell their stories are innocent victims. They volunteered to put their lives on display — they don’t deserve this kind of harassment.”
Following the incident, Drea Kelly, Kelly’s ex-wife who was present at the screening, spoke with Rolling Stone about it.
“The first thing that came to my mind — and I can’t speak for anyone else — was that [R. Kelly] had this shut down,” she said. “I believe it was somebody connected to him. This was an outside inside-job to me; someone on the outside does not want what’s going on on the inside to be completed.”