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Lady Gaga is breaking her silence following the R. Kelly abuse scandal.
In a lengthy statement on Twitter, the pop superstar apologized for working with the singer and said she plans to remove their 2013 collaboration “Do What U Want (With My Body)” from streaming services.
“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,” said Gaga, who called the allegations “absolutely horrifying and indefensible.”
“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,” she continued.
Gaga’s statement arrives after she faced pressure on social media to condemn Kelly, who was the subject of a six-part Lifetime docuseries called “Surviving R. Kelly,” which chronicles over two decades of the singer’s alleged sexual abuse and misconduct.
“Do What U Want” was released after Kelly stood trial in Chicago on child pornography charges a few years earlier. He was acquitted.
Gaga, who performed her sexually provocative duet with Kelly on “Saturday Night Live” and the American Music Awards at the time, vowed not to work with Kelly again. “I intend to remove this song off of iTunes and other streaming platforms and will not be working with him again,” she said. “I’m sorry, both for my poor judgment when I was young, and for not speaking out sooner.”
I stand by anyone who has ever been the victim of sexual assault: pic.twitter.com/67sz4WpV3i
— Lady Gaga (@ladygaga) January 10, 2019
During an interview on SiriusXM, “Surviving R. Kelly” producer, Dream Hampton, said she wished she could have spoken to Gaga for the documentary series. “I wanted to know how Lady Gaga could be on ‘SNL’ with him as someone who advocates for domestic abuse survivors and was, you know, had this ridiculous performance with him on ‘SNL,’” she said.
Since the premiere, many artists have publicly denounced Kelly, but Gaga was not among them. In 2014, the pop superstar revealed that she was a survivor of sexual assault and a supporter of the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements.
“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,” she wrote in her statement. “Til it happens to you, you don’t know how it feels. But I do know how I feel now.”