Sex Abuse Hotline Calls See Boost During ‘Surviving R.Kelly’ Premiere, “Ignition” Streams Increase

The first installation of 'Surviving R. Kelly' prompted some sexual abuse survivors to call the National Sexual Assault Hotline and ask for help.

R. Kelly in Detroit

Image via Getty/Scott Legato

R. Kelly in Detroit

Lifetime’s docu-series Surviving R. Kelly debuted on Thursday night, and while the first installation saw a huge public outcry of anger and disgust, it also prompted some sexual abuse survivors to ask for help.

The National Sexual Assault Hotline saw an uptick in calls on Thursday, a RAINN spokesperson told the Daily Beast. The hotline gives survivors access to emotional support, information, and resources. On Thursday night, it saw a 27 percent increase in calls from the previous Thursday.

According to the Daily Beast, hotline traffic often sees a boost when sexual abuse stories permeate the news. When Christine Blasey Ford testified against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh in September, RAINN saw a 147 percent increase in calls. There was a 33 percent hike when Donald Trump’s notorious Access Hollywood tape was released in 2016.

Watching or reading about "Surviving R. Kelly" and need to talk? The National Sexual Assault Hotline is here 24/7—800.656.HOPE and

— RAINN (@RAINN) January 4, 2019

Kelly’s streaming numbers have risen, too, The Blast reports. A representative for Spotify told The Blast that his song “Ignition” has seen a 16 percent increase after part one of Surviving R. Kelly.

It’s interesting that the song saw a surge after back in May, Spotify declared that it was removing Kelly’s music from the streaming platform’s owned and operated playlists, in accordance with an amended policy to stop promoting artists who have been implicated in “hateful conduct.”

However, Spotify then retracted the ban after it was accused of not holding other artists who have been accused of sexual assault to the same standards.

Surviving R. Kelly, which runs through Saturday, documents decades of alleged abusive behavior by the singer through dozens of interviews with survivors, siblings, associates, experts, critics, and performers. The first two episodes focused on the beginning of Kelly’s career and the peak of his mega-stardom, ending just before the 2002 sex tape that would lead to his trial and acquittal.

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