Lady Gaga is now one of the biggest names in music to apologize for collaborating with R. Kelly. In the wake of Surviving R. Kelly (the Lifetime documentary series that features many women who claim that the singer abused them) and the allegations of the last few years, one of the biggest revelations is that a staggering amount of people in Kelly’s circle and in the industry at large knew of various stories circulating about him but decided to stay quiet. Gaga’s announcement—in the middle of her A Star Is Born awards-season press circuit—and especially her decision to pull their 2013 song, “Do What U Want (With My Body),” marks a sea change.
Dream Hampton, executive producer of Surviving R. Kelly, revealed last week that several R&B and hip-hop heavyweights declined to be interviewed for the documentary, including Erykah Badu, Jay-Z, Dave Chappelle, Questlove, Mary J. Blige, Lil’ Kim—and Lady Gaga. (Questlove later tweeted that he refused to participate because he had been asked to discuss Kelly’s “genius”; Hampton refuted that claim on Twitter.)
In Gaga’s statement, released via Twitter on Thursday, she said, “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,” and furthered that the allegations against Kelly were “absolutely horrifying and indefensible.”