As pressure mounts for Hollywood to denounce R. Kelly thanks to the Lifetime documentary Surviving R. Kelly, Lady Gaga has finally stepped forward to apologize for her 2013 collaboration with the singer.
"As a victim of sexual assault myself, I made both the song and the video at a dark time in my life," Gaga (née Stefani Germanotta) wrote in a Notes app statement Wednesday night. "My intention was to create something defiant and provocative because I was angry and still hadn't processed the trauma that occurred in my own life."
Gaga, who wrote an original song for the documentary The Hunting Ground about campus sexual assault, has spoken about her experience with sexual assault before. This is partially why fans were so perturbed by the star's collaboration with R. Kelly, who, even in 2013, was an alleged sexual predator.
Shortly after the premiere of Surviving R. Kelly last Thursday, filmmaker Dream Hampton (who stylizes her name as "dream hampton") noted in interviews with Shadow and Act and Detroit Free Press that a number of celebrities had declined to participate, Lady Gaga among them. Following the series' finale Sunday evening, fans turned to Gaga, asking her to apologize for the 2013 song "Do What U Want."
As part of her apology, Gaga announced that she would be removing the song from iTunes and other streaming platforms. As of Thursday morning, the song was still on both Spotify and iTunes.
In 2013, Gaga appeared on Saturday Night Live, where she performed "Do What U Want" with Kelly alongside her. Wednesday, former SNL cast member Brooks Wheelan noted on Twitter that, when R. Kelly appeared on the show, star Kenan Thompson warned Wheelan to stay away from him.
Wrote Wheelan, "At the good nights there’s this dude I’ve never seen, AKA: R Kelly. I asked Kenan who it was and he just said 'a bad dude, stay away.'" Kenan is never wrong."
At SNL one time Lady Gaga had R Kelly come do a song with her. I was in my own world so I didn’t know/care. At the good nights there’s this dude I’ve never seen, AKA: R Kelly. I asked Kenan who it was and he just said “a bad dude, stay away.”— Brooks Wheelan (@brookswheelan) January 8, 2019
Kenan is never wrong.
As a result of Surviving R. Kelly, Kelly is now under criminal investigation in the state of Georgia. In addition, Chicago State's Attorney Kim Foxx has called for victims of Kelly's abuse to come forward.