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Everyone is talking about the R Kelly docuseries, but are you up to speed on it?

Here’s the breakdown.

ON JANUARY 3RD, Lifetime began airing a six-part docuseries examining the allegations of sexual misconduct which have been levelled at R. Kelly over the course of his career.

Source: Lifetime/YouTube

The performer, who had been accused of illegally marrying the late singer, Aaliyah, when she was just 14 in 1994, has an exceptionally checkered past as detailed by the BBC, which include the following:

  • In 1996, the singer was sued by Tiffany Hawkins for “personal injuries and emotional distress” she endured during their three-year relationship.
  • In 2001, Tracy Sampson, who worked as an intern at Epic Records, accused Kelly of inducing her “into an indecent sexual relationship” when she was 17 years old.
  • In 2002, he was sued twice more, while later that same year, he was charged with 21 counts of making child pornography. Six years later, the case went to trial, and the performer was found not guilty.
  • In 2017, Kelly was accused of trapping six women in a sex cult.

Surviving R. Kelly, which features in-depth interviews with alleged victims, has made international headlines, and it is understood that the performer’s legal team advised Lifetime that their client intended to file a federal lawsuit if the series went to air.

Indeed, since the series’ broadcast, sources close to the performer, who turns 52 today, have told TMZ that he intends to sue all those involved.

The impact of the docuseries – which broke viewership records for Lifetime – cannot be ignored, with ABC reporting that the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network in the US has seen a 20 per cent surge in calls compared to the week prior to the series’ launch.

Worryingly, however, a representative for Spotify confirmed for The Blast that Kelly’s music streams have increased by 16 per cent since the first episode was broadcast last Thursday.

While a report in Variety states that a number of high-profile individuals declined an invitation to appear on the documentary, MeToo founder, Tarana Burke, and John Legend accepted the invitation.


Responding to praise on Twitter, John told his followers that the decision to participate was an easy one.

To everyone telling me how courageous I am for appearing in the doc, it didn’t feel risky at all. I believe these women and don’t give a fuck about protecting a serial child rapist. Easy decision.

Indeed, Lady Gaga has come under fire this week after comments she made during a press conference in Japan in 2013 appeared to demonstrate support for the performer.

Lady Gaga, who recorded Do What You Want with Kelly, was questioned about his trial for child pornography and, according to the Daily Mail, replied:

R Kelly and I have sometimes, very untrue things written about us, so in a way this was a bond between us.

In contrast, Chance the Rapper has admitted he regrets collaborating with Kelly.

Making a song with R. Kelly was a mistake. I didn’t value the accusers’ stories because they were black women. I made a mistake.

According to TMZ, R Kelly has refused to watch the docuseries, which came to an end last Saturday.

As of yet, the series is not available in Ireland, and viewers on this side of the Atlantic have resorted to bootleg streaming since the series launched last week.

However, from February 5, it will be screened on Crime + Investigation, which is available on Sky, Virgin Media and Eir.

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About the author:

Niamh McClelland

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