Lady Gaga has apologized for her 2013 collaboration with R. Kelly, entitled “Do What U Want (With My Body),” and is now working to remove the song from iTunes and streaming services, according to Brooklyn Vegan. This news comes in the wake of Lifetime’s new docuseries “Surviving R. Kelly,” which premiered last week.
Although back in the limelight, controversy over this song is not new. Gaga’s decision to collaborate with Kelly was controversial at the time of the song’s release. Gaga commented on this, saying “R. Kelly and I have sometimes very untrue things written about us, so in a way this was a bond between us. That we were able to say, the public, they can have our bodies, but they cannot have our mind or our heart. It was a really natural collaboration.”
The collaboration grew more controversial still, this time concerning its unreleased music video. First off, the video’s director, Terry Richardson, has faced numerous accusations of alleged sexual assault and harassment, according to the Washington Post.
More uncomfortably, the video itself contained scenes which, in the context of Kelly’s accusations, are unsettling. A leaked clip depicts Gaga as a patient, speaking to Kelly as a doctor, asking if she will ever walk again. “‘Yes, if you let me do whatever I want with your body,’ Kelly responds. ‘I’m putting you under, and when you wake up, you’re going to be pregnant,'” the Washington Post quotes.
The pair even performed the song together at the 2013 American Music Awards. Check out the video below.
In her statement, Gaga cites her own personal experiences with sexual assault, and promises that she is with victims and stands behind them. Read her full statement below.
“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. What I am hearing about the allegations against R Kelly is absolutely horrifying and indefensible. As a victim of sexual assault myself, I made both 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)”, I think it’s clear how explicitly twisted my thinking was at the time. If I could go back and have a talk with my younger self I’d tell her to go through the therapy I have since then, so that I could understand the confused post-traumatic state that I was in – or if therapy was not available to me or anyone in my situation – to seek help, and speak as openly and honestly as possible about what we’ve been through. 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. I have demonstrated my stance on this issue and others many times throughout my career. I share this not to make excuses for myself, but to explain. Til it happens to you, you don’t know how it feels. But I do know how I feel now. I intend to remove this song off of iTunes and other streaming platforms 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.”
Gaga is one of many celebrities speaking out against R. Kelly in light of Lifetime’s series. Chance the Rapper also spoke out, apologizing for working with Kelly as well.
“I apologize to all of his survivors for working with him and for taking this long to speak out,” he said.
This outpouring of celebrity statements follows “Surviving R. Kelly,” Lifetime’s docuseries exposé on the artist and the many accusations against him. Kelly has threatened to sue Lifetime for the series, his lawyers alleging that it defames and makes false claims about the singer.