Lady Gaga and JAY-Z were among the stars who refused to be part of the new R. Kelly documentary, according to the series producer.
Dream Hampton has revealed she and her team had a wish list of celebrities and former Kelly collaborators they wanted to chat to for the new Lifetime network three-parter, which debuts in America on Thursday night (03Jan19) – but many of them weren’t interested.
Erykah Badu, Questlove, Mary J. Blige, Lil’ Kim, and Celine Dion also refused to appear in Surviving R. Kelly, according to the producer.
“It was incredibly difficult to get people who had collaborated (artistically) with Kelly to come forward,” she tells the Detroit Free Press. “We asked Lady Gaga. We asked Erykah Badu. We asked Celine Dion. We asked JAY-Z. We asked Dave Chappelle – people who have been critical of him.”
John Legend was the biggest name who agreed to speak on camera, making him a hero to Hampton, along with the brave women who came forward to talk about their alleged experiences with Kelly.
“They’re everything, these women,” the producer adds. “We call them survivors. They’re so brave. Their stories are important, and they have every right to share them. Many of them have said they (want) to prevent someone else from falling into (such situations).
“There are no big pay cheques for these women. We can’t pay them to be in a documentary. There are no endorsement deals. This kind of exposure doesn’t lead to some great something. I admire them so much and have all the respect in the world for them.”
The controversial Lifetime series tackles allegations of paedophilia and non-consensual sex levelled against the I Believe I Can Fly singer. He has consistently denied any wrongdoing.
A screening of Surviving R.Kelly at a theatre in Madison Square Garden, New York was shut down after venue bosses received a credible gun threat and Kelly has threatened legal action against Lifetime bosses if the three-part TV special airs.
The singer claims he is in possession of two recordings which prove Lifetime bosses were aware that some of the girls on film are lying about their experiences with the R&B star “but that the budget was too high” to erase their involvement.