R. Kelly’s manager, Donnell Russell, was arrested on charges that he threatened a “mass shooting” at a theater in order to stop a screening of Surviving R. Kelly, the documentary that explored sexual abuse allegations against the disgraced singer.
According to federal prosecutors, the 45-year-old forced the NeueHouse theater in New York City to cancel a screening of the film by calling an employee directly “to threaten that there was a person in the auditorium with a gun prepared to shoot up” the theater on December 4, 2018, as documents obtained by The Daily Beast show.
After receiving the threat, the NeueHouse opted to cancel the airing of the docu-series. Russell is said to have called directly from his personal landline in Chicago.
As a result, Russell is facing charges for conspiracy and threatening physical harm, for which he appeared remotely from Los Angeles before a judge in New York.
FBI Assistant Director William F. Sweeney Jr. issued a statement about the threat.
“It defies logic that a threat like the one alleged here could stop victims from speaking about their alleged abuse,” he said. “The violence Mr. Russell allegedly threatened succeeded in shutting down one airing of the documentary, but he was unable to silence the women featured in the film. Each and every day, we do everything in our power to make sure victims of sexual abuse have the opportunity to be heard, and will continue to do so regardless of those who allegedly use violence as a means to stop them.”
The news comes just days after Russell, along with Kelly associates Michael Williams and Richard Arline, were accused of harassing reported victims of Kelly, along with their families.
Russell is accused of writing a letter that he sent to one of the victim’s lawyers with nude photos of her. The letter warned her that she would be “exposed” if she didn’t put an end to her claims against the singer.
Williams is accused of harassing a second professed victim by setting fire to a car near the home where she was staying.
Arline is accused of attempting to pay a woman to keep silent. He believed that the professed victim had incriminating information against Kelly.
Russell is currently out on a $75,000 bail. Kelly remains behind bars in Chicago, after being accused of sex crimes in Illinois, Minnesota, and New York state, despite multiple requests to be released due to anxiety and fears over the coronavirus.
Kelly’s charges include issues related to assault, sex with a minor, and moving underage women across state lines, among others.