Lady Gaga is apologizing for her past collaboration with R. Kelly as allegations of sexual misconduct have resurfaced against the R&B singer.
The pop star took to social media Wednesday night to express her solidarity with Kelly’s alleged victims while offering insight into why she worked with him on the 2013 track titled “Do What U Want (With My Body),” which has faced renewed scrutiny in light of its lyrics, especially within the context of the allegations against Kelly.
“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,” she wrote in a tweeted statement.
“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. The song is called ‘Do What U Want (With My Body)’, I think it’s clear how explicitly twisted my thinking was at the time,” she added.
If she could go back in time and speak with her younger self, Gaga said, “I’d tell her to go through the therapy I have since then, so that I could understand the confused post-traumatic state that I was in.”
While she noted that she can’t take the decision to work with Kelly back, she said, “I can go forward and continue to support” victims of sexual assault.
Lady Gaga added that she is not making excuses for herself, but trying “to explain” her mindset at the time. She ended by promising to “remove this song off of iTunes and other streaming platforms” and not to work with Kelly again. “I’m sorry, both for my poor judgment when I was young, and for not speaking out sooner. I love you,” she concluded.
The singer and A Star Is Born actress, 32, revealed in the October cover story for Vogue that she still copes with the sexual assault she suffered at age 19. “No one else knew. It was almost like I tried to erase it from my brain. And when it finally came out, it was like a big, ugly monster. And you have to face the monster to heal,” said Gaga, who first disclosed her rape during an interview with Howard Stern in 2014.
Lady Gaga’s message comes after the airing of the docuseries Surviving R. Kelly, which chronicles years of abuse and pedophilia claims against the R&B singer. The six-part series broke ratings records for Lifetime when the first episode premiered on Jan. 3.
Featuring more than 50 interviews, the project dives into Kelly’s controversial history, including the infamous videotape widely circulated in 2002 that appeared to show him urinating on an underage girl. Though both Kelly and his alleged victim denied they were portrayed in the tape, the singer was charged with possession of child pornography. In the end, a jury found him not guilty. Numerous women have since come forward, all with similar claims of physical abuse.
While Kelly has yet to respond to EW’s most recent requests for comment, he denied the accusations in the past and TMZ reported he threatened to sue Lifetime if the network went ahead with airing the docuseries.
“We wanted irrefutable evidence,” executive producer dream hampton told EW. “Without leading any of these women, they all had the exact same stories, even if their interactions with R. Kelly were 15 years apart. All of them have stories about being physically abused, being videotaped without consent, being denied food or bathroom privileges as a punishment. All of them have stories about rules that were established early on.”
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