Attendees at a private premiere screening of Lifetime’s new docuseries Surviving R. Kelly were forced to evacuate a New York theater tonight, after an anonymous threat was called in about potential gun violence at the venue. Those in attendance included #MeToo founder Tarana Burke, #OscarsSoWhite creator April Reign, and several women who have accused singer R. Kelly of subjecting them to predatory, abusive, and controlling behavior over the years. No one was hurt, but Lifetime decided to cancel the event, noting that, “Tonight’s all about the safety of everyone—we’re not even thinking of what to do next yet.”
The three-part docuseries centers on a number of accusations that have been made against Kelly in the last few years, alleging him of recruiting very young women into his entourage—often referred to as a “cult”—and then exerting increasing levels of control over their diets, their abilities to communicate with the outside world, and pretty much every aspect of their lives. Increased reporting on the issues led to the #MuteRKelly campaign gaining steam this year, which, in turn, saw a number of his concerts canceled, and his music (briefly) pulled from Spotify. Kelly has so far denied all the allegations against him, but that hasn’t stopped a number of documentary journalists from taking an interest in the very public case.
Surviving R. Kelly debuts on Lifetime on January 3.