UPDATE 3:16 p.m. ET: French Montana went on Twitter to clarify his controversial TMZ comments, saying that he does sympathize with R. Kelly's alleged victims. "I never thought the people I looked up to as a kid, who sang and danced and gave me hope to become a superstar would become drug addicts, child molestors [sic] and rapists," he tweeted.
Let me be clear. My heart is with the victims. I never thought the people I looked up to as a kid, who sang and danced and gave me hope to become a superstar would become drug addicts, child molestors and rapists. I am hoping we as a culture create better leaders. We need them.— French Montana (@FrencHMonTanA) January 13, 2019
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When speaking with TMZ, French referenced Michael Jackson—whose public image had been damaged by child sexual abuse charges—in his R. Kelly defense.
“All the greats went down like that,” he said. “Let somebody enjoy their legacy. Whatever happened, happened, man.”
French said he believed Kelly’s goal was evident when he sang, “My mind's tellin' me no, but my body, my body's tellin' me yes” in his song, “Bump and Grind.”
“[People] don't let nobody have their legendary moments,” French said when asked if people should stop listening to R. Kelly.
A few artists don’t see it the same way as French. Days after the finale of Surviving R. Kelly, posted a note on Twitter apologizing for working with Kelly on the song “Do What U Want" before getting it removed from streaming platforms.