‘Surviving R. Kelly’ premiere evacuated following shooting threat
A premiere screening of Lifetime’s Surviving R. Kelly documentary was evacuated due to “several anonymous threats” that were called in, CNN reports. The screening, which was held at NeueHouse Madison Square, was attended by #MeToo founder Tarana Burke, who also appears in the documentary, as well as R Kelly accusers Kitti Jones, Jerhonda Pace, Lisa Van Allen, Asante McGee, and Lizzette Martinez.
Burke told CNN that the screening was evacuated 20-30 minutes in, and that she and other attendees shared news of it on social media right away. “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,” she 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.”
An NYPD spokesperson told CNN that an anonymous caller said someone would start shooting if the screening continued. Theater management evacuated the building after receiving the call, but a spokesperon for NeueHouse Madison Square later determined the threats weren’t credible. “We followed appropriate safety protocols in collaboration with the NYPD and elected to postpone the event,” they said. “We stand by the creative women bringing these heroic stories to light.”
“Calling in a noncredible threat to the NYPD to interrupt our screening is an act of desperation from people who don’t want these truths shared with the world,” Executive Producer and Showrunner Dream Hampton told CNN. “The survivors who bravely sat with me for this docuseries know all too well what R. Kelly is capable of, every one of them has stories of being abused and controlled by him.”
Lifetime is set to air Surviving R. Kelly over three nights in January. From their description:
In the ground-breaking documentary series “Surviving R. Kelly,” women are emerging from the shadows and uniting their voices to share their stories. Celebrated as one of the greatest R&B singers of all time, R. Kelly’s genre defining career and playboy lifestyle has been riddled with rumors of abuse, predatory behavior, and pedophilia. Despite damning evidence and multiple witnesses, to date, none of these accusations have seemingly affected him. For the first time ever, survivors and people from R. Kelly’s inner circle, are coming forward with new allegations about his sexual, mental, and physical abuse. They are now finally ready to share their full story and shed light on the secret life the public has never seen.
With over 50 interviews including civil rights activist Tarana Burke, musicians John Legend and Sparkle, talk-show host and former DJ Wendy Williams, ex-wife Andrea Kelly, ex-girlfriend Kitti Jones, brothers Carey and Bruce Kelly, and many others, the true story of R. Kelly’s controversial past will be revealed beginning in 1970 through present day, shedding light on the R&B star whose history of alleged abuse of underage African American girls has, until recently, been largely ignored by mainstream media.