UPDATED 2 p.m. ET: A Lifetime rep has informed TMZ that they will move forward with broadcast plans for Surviving R. Kelly, beginning Thursday night. In a statement, a network rep said Lifetime has "always" championed women's stories.
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R. Kelly is doing everything he can to stop Lifetime from airing their six-part exposé Surviving R. Kelly. TMZ reports that the singer is threatening legal action if the network goes through with playing their docuseries that aims to paint a picture of Kelly as an abusive leader of a sex-based cult.
The website said Kelly's lawyer Brian Nix sent a letter to the network that threatened to file a federal lawsuit on the day of the first episode's airing, if Lifetime doesn't put the kibosh on the whole thing. The six-part series features people from Kelly's inner circle and women who have been pulled into his alleged operation talking about their experience with the singer.
According to TMZ, Kelly said that he had recordings that proved Lifetime knew "some of the girls are lying, but that the budget was too high to turn back now." Of course, there's decades of evidence on the other side, as showrunner dream hampton pointed out in a recent interview.
"R. Kelly's been doing this for at least three decades, so he literally has dozens, if not hundreds, of survivors," she said, noting that they need to speak out. "When they're in his world, he literally keeps them cordoned off. They're not allowed to speak to one another, even if there are other women in the house, even women that they are forced to engage in sex acts with. They aren't allowed to have conversation with those women. These are women who lived in his house and studio for years, and have the same story about being forbidden to talk. So once those women become free of those barriers, they're looking to connect with each other, to know that they weren't the only ones."
She also said that the way to keep another R. Kelly situation from happening would be to simply believe the women he allegedly victimized.
"Just, believe black women. You wouldn't fucking be in this problem with Russian profiles if you would just listen to black women on Twitter, who were telling you," he said. "It's no coincidence that #MeToo was founded by a black woman. Just listen to black women. That would be the last thing I want to say."