Don’t expect Lady Gaga to show any sympathy for her one-time collaborator R. Kelly.
On Wednesday night, the A Star Is Born actress took to Twitter to speak out against R. Kelly, the subject of a much discussed Lifetime docuseries Surviving R. Kelly telling the stories of the many women who came forward with allegations of sexual assault and sexual misconduct against the singer.
“I stand behind these women 1000%, believe them, know they are suffering and in pain, and feel strongly that their voices should be taken seriously,” she wrote in a screenshot posted on her Twitter account. Gaga called the allegations against R. Kelly “horrifying and indefensible.”
I stand by anyone who has ever been the victim of sexual assault: pic.twitter.com/67sz4WpV3i
— Lady Gaga (@ladygaga) January 10, 2019
Gaga also spoke about her 2013 collaboration with the singer, “Do What U Want,” which was the second single from ARTPOP. In the second part of her note, she offered fans a glimpse into how the song came about and why she collaborated with Kelly.
“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 occured in my own life,” she said. “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.”
At the time of the song’s release, Gaga defended her collaboration with Kelly, saying, “R. Kelly and I have sometimes very untrue things written about us, so in a way this was a bond between us."
However, Gaga struck a much different tone in her statement, saying, “If I could go back and have a talk with my younger self I’d tell her to go through the therapy I have [had] since [then], so that I could understand the confused post-traumatic state that I was in.”
She added that she has demonstrated her stance on the issue of sexual assault several times throughout her career. At the 2016 Oscars, Lady Gaga performed the song, “Til It Happens To You,” which she co-wrote with Diane Warren for the 2015 campus sexual assault documentary Hunting Ground. Dozens of sexual assault survivors joined Lady Gaga on stage for the tribute introduced by Vice President Joe Biden. Lady Gaga and Biden later teamed up for a sexual assault awareness PSA and started the “It’s On Us” campaign to end campus rape culture.
Gaga struck an apologetic tone toward the end of her note, addressing fan criticism of her collaboration with Kelly. Surviving R. Kelly premiered during both the Oscar season where Gaga’s film A Star Is Born is a critical darling, but also during the industry-wide #MeToo reckoning. Several outlets reported that the singer faced mounting pressure to distance herself from Kelly.
“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 said.
Finally, Gaga said that she would remove “Do What U Want” from iTunes, in an effort to not elevate Kelly or perpetuate rape culture in any way.
“I’m sorry, both for my poor judgment when I was young, and for not speaking out sooner,” she wrote.