R. Kelly has reportedly threatened to sue Lifetime over the “Surviving R. Kelly” documentary airing Thursday, January 3rd.
The three-part documentary, executive produced by dream hampton, contains interviews with women who were allegedly abused by the singer.
According to a report in TMZ, R. Kelly’s lawyers have sent the network a letter threatening a lawsuit if the program airs, charging the doc contains defaming claims about the singer.
“When I said I’m at war with R. Kelly, this is what I meant. I don’t ever want to underestimate him,” hampton told Shadow and Act. “This is a man who has built systems around his abuse, which is something that you’ll see in the docuseries.”
In December, an early New York screening of the documentary was canceled after a gun threat call came from an unnamed Chicago-area man. Lifetime later issued a statement claiming this was an “intimidation tactic” from R.Kelly.
The singer’s ex-wife, Andrea Kelly, survivors Asante McGee, Jerhonda Pace, Kitti Jones, Lisa Van Allen, Lizette Martinez, singer Sparkle, R. Kelly’s brothers, and others appear in the doc and share stories of abuse. #MeToo founder Tarana Burke also appears in the series.
At another point in the interview, hampton stated, “There are women decades apart testifying to the kind of rules that they were subjected to living with this man, dealing with this man; there are hundreds, probably thousands of tapes made of them [by R. Kelly] without their permission. He’s also deeply manipulative; these are women who didn’t know each other, 20 years apart, and they’d be talking about being made to sign false confessions and he’d say, ‘This is my insurance that you don’t hurt me the way these other women have hurt me.’ So, I knew we were dealing with someone that we may not want to dismiss. He’s dangerous.”
An extensive Buzzfeed investigation into R. Kelly abusing and imprisoning women in a “sex cult” was published in 2017.
The reported story was written by Chicago journalist Jim DeRogatis, who initially broke the 2002 story of the tape depicting R. Kelly urinating on a minor. The singer was indicted on 22 counts of child pornography and found not guilty of all charges.
Another documentary called R Kelly: Sex, Girls, and Videotapes, contained more allegations of sexual and psychological abuse. Buzzfeed is also currently producing a Hulu documentary on the allegations.
Watch the trailer for “Surviving R. Kelly” above and another clip before.
Ivie is a Nigerian-American, native New Yorker, and journalist covering culture. Usually on-air, on deadline, and on point. @ivieani