Surviving R. Kelly, a 6-part docuseries about alleged sexual abuse comitted by the R&B singer, is set to air on Lifetime tonight, despite threats of litigation. TMZ reports that Kelly has sent a legal letter — via his attorney — in which he threatens to file a lawsuit against the company for airing the series. In the document, he claims that the show contains untruths about him and his behavior.
According to TMZ, Kelly says that he has evidence that Lifetime is aware that some of the women are fabricating their stories. He claims to have an audio recording to back up the story.
Surviving R. Kelly examines the sexual abuse allegations against the singer from the perspective of the accusers, and from people who were close to him. It includes interviews from his brothers, a former head of his security, backup singers, and ex-wife — among others.
As the Inquisitr previously reported, one backup singer claims to have witnessed R. Kelly having sex with a 15-year-old Aaliyah on a tour bus.
The docudrama’s executive producer, cultural critic and filmmaker Dream Hampton, told Shadow And Act that several huge music stars who had collaborated with Kelly shied away from being interviewed for the series. Hampton added that John Legend was the only A-list artist who agreed to be involved.
“John Legend was the only one,” she said. “I asked Jay-Z, I asked Mary J. Blige, I asked Lil Kim, Erykah Badu, Dave Chappelle… I mean, most people just don’t want to touch it. I remember Ahmir [“Questlove” Thompson] was like, ‘I would do anything for you but I can’t do this.’ It’s not because they support him, it’s because it’s so messy and muddy. It’s that turning away that has allowed this to go on.”
Tomorrow night, Lifetime will air the first episodes of the six-part docuseries 'Surviving R. Kelly.'— Complex Music (@ComplexMusic) January 2, 2019
We spoke to executive producer @dreamhampton about bringing Kelly's dark past to light: https://t.co/22IETRo33C pic.twitter.com/VLwjyN6sUE
Rolling Stone calls the series a reckoning for Kelly, who gained a huge amount of success thanks to a string of R&B hits in the 1990s and early 2000s.
In the Shadow and Act interview, Hampton describes an elaborate infrastructure designed to sustain abuse, to keep victims practically enslaved and reluctant to tell anyone the truth of what was going on.
“There are whole systems in place: housing, runners, rules,” Hampton said. “There are women decades apart testifying to the kind of rules that they were subjected to living with this man, dealing with this man; there are hundreds, probably thousands of tapes made of them [by R. Kelly] without their permission.
Surviving R. Kelly premieres tonight at 9 p.m EST, on Lifetime.