“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,” Gaga wrote in a statement posted on Twitter. “What I am hearing about the allegations against R Kelly is absolutely horrifying and indefensible.”
I stand by anyone who has ever been the victim of sexual assault: pic.twitter.com/67sz4WpV3i— Lady Gaga (@ladygaga) January 10, 2019
Gaga, who has identified herself as a victim of sexual assault, issued her statement in the wake of the Lifetime documentary Surviving R. Kelly, which reignited public conversation about sexual misconduct allegations against the R&B star. The film includes interviews with people — both alleged victims and people who worked with him — who allege that Kelly preyed on underage girls and kept women and girls locked in his homes.
In an interview with Billboard, Kelly’s lawyer dismissed the claims in the documentary as “another round of stories” used to “fill reality TV time.” Kelly and his camp have denied the allegations against him for years, including after the release of a video that appeared to show Kelly having sex with and urinating on a teenage girl in 2002. (Both Kelly and the girl denied that they appeared in the video.) He was acquitted on child pornography charges in 2008.
Despite the long history of allegations against Kelly, he has continued to enjoy a successful music career — even working with popular artists like Gaga, who featured Kelly on her 2013 track “Do What U Want (With My Body).”
In the new statement, Gaga said she made the song and video “at a dark time in my life,” following her own sexual assault, and called her thinking around its production “explicitly twisted.” She apologized for working with Kelly and said she will remove the song from iTunes and other streaming platforms.
“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,” Gaga wrote in the statement. She continued, “I’m sorry, both for my poor judgment when I was young, and for not speaking out sooner. I love you.”