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Following the documentary Surviving R. Kelly that aired last week, many celebrities have recently publicly distanced themselves from the R&B artist and producer. Lady Gaga is the latest to do so, apologizing for working with him and saying she will remove her work with him from streaming and sales platforms. The decision affects one Lady Gaga R. Kelly track in particular — “Do What U Want (With My Body),” which appeared on her 2013 Artpop album.
Particularly since the airing of the documentary — which has since resulted in new investigations against him being launched — many had voiced their disappointment that Lady Gaga hadn’t yet released a statement against R. Kelly. Gaga had actually previously defended R. Kelly, for whom allegations of sex crimes had long been swirling.
Lady Gaga wrote on Twitter last night:
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. What I am hearing about the allegations against R. Kelly is absolutely horrifying and indefensible.
As a victim of sexual assault myself, I made both the song and the 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 processed the trauma that had occurred in my own life.
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. If I could go back and have a talk with my younger self I’d tell her to go through the therapy I have since then, so that I could understand the confused post-traumatic state that I was in — or if therapy was not available to me or anyone else in my situation — to seek help, and speak openly and honestly as possible about what we’ve been through. 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.
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. But I do know how I feel now. I intend to remove this song off of iTunes and other streaming platforms and will not be working with him again. I’m sorry both for my poor judgment when I was young and for not speaking out sooner. I love you.
Prior to the Lady Gaga R. Kelly track’s 2013 release, Kelly had been arrested for child pornography multiple times, famously married the late hip-hop/pop star Aaliyah when she was only 15 and had faced multiple lawsuits alleging sexual misconduct.
Here’s Lady Gaga’s Twitter post in full:
I stand by anyone who has ever been the victim of sexual assault: pic.twitter.com/67sz4WpV3i
— Lady Gaga (@ladygaga) January 10, 2019