Owning up to her shortcomings. Days after Lifetime aired Surviving R. Kelly, a docuseries that featured multiple women coming forward to accuse R. Kelly of sexual, mental and physical misconduct, Lady Gaga broke her silence and denounced the man she once collaborated with.
The “Born This Way” singer, 32, posted a lengthy message to her Instagram Story in the early hours of Thursday, January 10. “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,” she began. “What I am hearing about the allegations against R Kelly is absolutely horrifying and indefensible.”
The Golden Globe winner also explained why she decided to work with the “I Believe I Can Fly” crooner, 52, on her 2013 song “Do What U Want.”
“As a victim of sexual assault myself, I made both the song and 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 processes the trauma that had occurred in my own life,” she wrote. “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.”
Gaga said she wishes she could go back and encourage her younger self to get therapy in order to help her “understand the confused post-traumatic state” she was in at the time, but knows she’s unable to undo her actions of the past. “I can’t go back, but I can go forward and continue to support women, men, and people of all sexual identities, and of all races, who are victims of sexual assault,” she added.
The A Star Is Born actress continued, “I have demonstrated my stance on this issue and others many times throughout my career. I share this not to make excuses for myself, but to explain. Til it happens to you, you don’t know how it feels,” making a reference to the lyrics to her song “Til It Happens to You,” which was featured in a 2015 documentary about campus rape in the United States titled The Hunting Ground.
She concluded her powerful note by promising to “remove [their collaboration] off of iTunes and other streaming platforms” and never worth with Kelly again. “I’m sorry, both for my poor judgment when I was young, and for not speaking out sooner,” she penned. “I love you.”
Kelly’s attorney said in a statement to Us Weekly, “Mr. Kelly appreciates that she recognized his immense talent and collaborated with him to help her career, but finds it regrettable that she is now exploiting this controversy to try and help her in her effort to win an Oscar.”
Gaga and Kelly recorded a music video for “Do What U Want” that was never released. The duo also performed the track together at the 2013 American Music Awards. Later on, Gaga and Christina Aguilera teamed up for a remix of the song that did not include Kelly’s verse.
Kelly has been accused of sexual and physical abuse by numerous women, but has not been charged with any crimes connected to the allegations. The three-time Grammy winner has repeatedly denied these claims over the years. In 2017, his attorney, Linda Mensch, told Us Weekly that he “unequivocally denies such allegations and will work diligently and forcibly to pursue his accusers and clear his name.”