Lady Gaga says R Kelly duet 'Do What U Want (With My Body)' was made "at a dark time" and intends to withdraw the song from streaming platforms.
Gaga’s statement comes after protestors gathering together under the #MuteRKelly hashtag picketed the singer’s recording studio in Chicago last night (January 9). The criminal investigation follows the six-part Lifetime documentary series Surviving R Kelly, in which numerous women claimed to be the victim of sexual assault by the 52-year-old singer.
Gaga recorded a duet with Kelly, ‘Do What U Want (With My Body)’, which was released as a single from her third album ‘Artpop’ in 2013. She said in her statement that she intends withdrawing the song from streaming services as of today.
In her statement on Twitter, Gaga 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.”
Gaga added that the allegations against Kelly are “absolutely horrifying and indefensible”, adding: “As a victim of sexual assault myself, I made the song and 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)’ and I think it’s clear how explicitly twisted my thinking was at the time.”
Gaga went on to say that she wishes she could advise her younger self “to go through the therapy I have since then, so I could understand the confused post-traumatic state I was in… and to speak as openly and honestly as possible about what we’ve been through.”
The statement continued: “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.”
In explaining why she intends removing ‘Do What U Want (With My Body)’ from streaming services, Gaga said: “Til it happens to you, you don’t know how it feels. But I do know how I feel now. I intend to remove the song off iTunes and other streaming services 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.”
Kelly has denied the sexual abuse claims, saying he didn’t know many of the women featured in the Surviving R Kelly documentary. The series has led to police in Georgia and Chicago launching a criminal investigation. Chicago state attorney Kim Foxx said she was “sickened” by the allegations, issuing an appeal on Twitter for people to come forward with any information.
The series on the Lifetime channel has led to the hashtag #MuteRKelly, and protestors engaging with the movement picketed the singer’s recording studio in Chicago overnight.