Lady Gaga has apologized for working with R. Kelly in the below statement posted to Twitter tonight. “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 said, referring to the women who spoke out against Kelly in the new “Surviving R. Kelly” documentary series. “I’m sorry, both for my poor judgment when I was young, and for not speaking out sooner,” she wrote.
Gaga also announced intentions to remove her collaboration with Kelly, the 2013 ARTPOP single “Do What U Want,” from iTunes and streaming services. Gaga and Kelly performed the song together on “Saturday Night Live” and at the American Music Awards. She also vowed to never work with Kelly again. In the statement, she discussed the song’s creation and her impressions of it now.
As a victim of sexual assault myself, I made both the song and the 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.
Gaga’s apology arrives as women continue to speak out publicly about R. Kelly’s history of alleged abuse. Lifetime recently aired “Surviving R. Kelly,” a documentary series that featured interviews with several women—including Kitti Jones and Andrea Kelly—who have accused Kelly of abuse. The series also included interviews with John Legend and Chance the Rapper, who said it “was a mistake” to collaborate with R. Kelly on 2015’s “Somewhere in Paradise.”
Lady Gaga has long been an advocate for sexual assault survivors. In 2014, she revealed that she was sexually assaulted at age 19. The next year, she released the song “Til It Happens to You” for The Hunting Round, a documentary about sexual assault on college campuses. “Til It Happens to You” was nominated for Best Original Song at the 2016 Academy Awards, where Gaga also performed the song.
Gaga co-wrote an op-ed with New York Governor Andrew Cuomo in 2015, urging state lawmakers to support policies to combat sexual assault at the state’s public college campuses. The state’s “Enough Is Enough” legislation was passed shortly after.
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