Lady Gaga has apologized for working with R. Kelly, and says she’ll take steps to remove their 2013 single Do What U Want (With My Body) from streaming services.
The pop star performed the controversial duet with Kelly a number of times, including on Saturday Night Live.
She decided to speak out after the Lifetime docuseries Surviving R. Kelly aired last week, and alleged that the Trapped in the Closet singer had sex with underage girls, held women as sex slaves in Chicago and Atlanta, and kept them away from their families. Kelly has strongly denied the allegations.
In a lengthy statement posted to Twitter Wednesday night, Gaga — who previously revealed she was sexually assaulted — said she stands behind Kelly’s accusers.
“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,” she wrote. “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.”
I stand by anyone who has ever been the victim of sexual assault: pic.twitter.com/67sz4WpV3i
— Lady Gaga (@ladygaga) January 10, 2019
The Til It Happens To You singer added that she will not work with Kelly again.
“I intend to remove the song off iTunes and other streaming platforms and will not be working with him again,” she said. “I’m sorry, both for my poor judgment when I was young, and for not speaking out sooner. I love you.”
Surviving R. Kelly aired over three nights and included interviews with several of the singer’s alleged victims, their parents, his former tour manager, and celebrities including Wendy Williams, Chance the Rapper, and John Legend.
An attorney for Kelly dismissed the claims made by the people in the docuseries, and called them “haters.”
“Over a decade ago, he was found innocent of any wrongdoing,” Steven Greenberg told NBC News. “For people to now accuse him of things, they’re just haters trying to ruin his career.”
Dream Hampton, who produced the docuseries, recently told the Detroit Free Press that Lady Gaga and other celebrities who collaborated with Kelly declined interview requests.
“When it comes to celebrities, It was incredibly difficult to get people who had collaborated (artistically) with Kelly to come forward. We asked Lady Gaga. We asked Erykah Badu. We asked Celine Dion. We asked Jay-Z. We asked Dave Chappelle,” she said.
On Tuesday, a Chicago prosecutor held a news conference, and urged possible victims of sexual assault or domestic violence by Kelly to contact authorities.