R. Kelly performs on stage at the FOX Theater on December 27, 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia - USA

A Lifetime docuseries detailing several sexual misconduct accusations leveled against R. Kelly was set to make its debut Tuesday night during a screening in New York City but the event was shut down after a gun threat was called into the venue.

MadameNoire reports that several anonymous threats were made to NeueHouse Madison Square during the premiere of Surviving R. Kelly, including one caller who said that if the film continued to play, someone in the theater would begin shooting. The venue was then evacuated 30 minutes into the film. Author Feminista Jones reported that the threat came from Chicago, the “I Believe I Can Fly” singer’s hometown.

“We followed appropriate safety protocols in collaboration with the NYPD and elected to postpone the event. We stand by the creative women bringing these heroic stories to light,” said a spokesperson for NeueHouse Madison Square.

Executive producer dream hampton called the move an “act of desperation.”



“Calling in a non-credible threat to the NYPD to interrupt our screening is an act of desperation from people who don’t want these truths shared with the world. The survivors who bravely sat with me for this docuseries know all to well what R. Kelly is capable of, every one of them has stories of being abused and controlled by him.”

Tarana Burke, the founder of the #MeToo movement, was also present, saying, “We don’t want whoever tries to intimidate us and shut the situation down to feel like they won because the doc will air and the stories will be told. These women who come forward to tell their stories are innocent victims. They volunteered to put their lives on display—they don’t deserve this kind of harassment.”

See video of the evacuation below.

The singer has been accused of having inappropriate relationships with underage girls and of-age women believed by some to be held against their will in a sex cult.

Kelly’s ex-wife Andrea Kelly told Rolling Stone, “The first thing that came to my mind — and I can’t speak for anyone else — was that [R. Kelly] had this shut down. I believe it was somebody connected to him. This was an outside inside-job to me; someone on the outside does not want what’s going on on the inside to be completed. Whoever it came from, they know that this is not a good thing because there’s power in numbers.”

She added, “At the end of the day, though, it makes me smile because that lets me know we’re on the right track. We’re causing people to listen. We’re getting people’s attention and we’re getting attention from the one who thought that he was invincible and untouchable. And that also applies to the people that work for him and the people that are around him.”

Surviving R. Kelly premieres at 9 p.m. EST Jan. 3 on Lifetime.



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