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Lady Gaga apologizes for R Kelly collab, removed song from streaming services

Lady Gaga & R. Kelly on SNL
Lady Gaga & R. Kelly on SNL in 2013

Lady Gaga has issued an apology for working with R. Kelly, and says she will remove their 2013 single, “Do What U Want (With My Body)” from streaming services and iTunes. “What I am hearing about the allegations against R Kelly is absolutely horrifying and indefensible,” she writes. “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 continues, “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 intend to remove this song off of iTunes and other streaming platforms and will not be working with him again. I’m sorry, both for my poor judgment when I was young, and for not speaking out sooner.” Read her full statement below.

UPDATE (1/11): The song has officially been removed from iTunes, Apple Music, Spotify, and YouTube.

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. 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. If I could go back and have a talk with my younger self 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 – or if therapy was not available to me or anyone in my situation – to seek help, and speak as openly and honestly as possible about what we’ve been through. 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 again. I’m sorry, both for my poor judgment when I was young, and for not speaking out sooner. I love you.

Gaga’s statement comes after the airing of Lifetime documentary series Surviving R. Kelly, which documents the sex crimes he has been accused of for decades. Kelly is reportedly under criminal investigation in Fulton County, Georgia, where he used to own a home, as a result of the series. Kelly has denied the allegations, and more recently has allegedly threatened to sue Lifetime for defamation.

In 2013, Gaga spoke about the collaboration with Kelly in a press conference, saying, “R. Kelly and I have sometimes very untrue things written about us, so in a way this was a bond between us. That we were able to say, the public, they can have our bodies, but they cannot have our mind or our heart. It was a really natural collaboration.” She came under fire for the collaboration all the more because of how outspoken she has been in support of sexual assault survivors. Gaga and Kelly also performed the song togehter on SNL in 2013, and in an interview on SiriusXM, Surviving R. Kelly producer dream hampton said, “I wanted to know how Lady Gaga could be on ‘SNL’ with [R Kelly] as someone who advocates for domestic abuse survivors and was, you know, had this ridiculous performance with him on ‘SNL'”

Chance the Rapper has also spoken out since the airing of Surviving R. Kelly, apologizing for working with Kelly. A clip of an interview he did with Jamilah Lamieux for Cassius was included in the series, where Chance says, “I didn’t value the accusers’ stories because they were black women… I made a mistake.” In his new statement, Chance says that “the quote was taken out of context, but the truth is any of us who ever ignored the R Kelly stories, or ever believed he was being setup/attacked by the system (as black men often are) were doing so at the detriment of black women and girls. I apologize to all of his survivors for working with him and for taking this long to speak out.”

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