A private screening of Lifetime’s “Surviving R. Kelly” in New York on Tuesday, December 4 abruptly ended after receiving several gun threats during the event. About 100 people were evacuated around 20 minutes into the screening of the docuseries following R. Kelly‘s numerous allegations of sexual, mental and physical abuse. While the threats sent people into frenzy, the R&B singer’s ex-wife Drea Kelly revealed that it was not entirely bad thing.
Speaking to Rolling Stone, Drea, who was among the attendees at NeueHouse Madison Square, felt that the threats and event shutdown meant “we were doing something great.” She continued saying, “We’re causing people to listen.”
In addition to Drea, other Kelly survivors filled the room to see an excerpt of the upcoming six-episode docuseries before it was canceled. Kitty Jones, who was one of those who accused the singer of physical abuse and sexual coercion, added, “This just speaks to how much power there is in numbers, that someone felt the need to threaten the event.”
“But we won’t be intimidated or silenced and we hope this brings even more attention to the legitimacy of our stories and how important this documentary is to the movement,” she shared.
It was reported than an unknown caller threated that someone inside the theater would start shooting if they insisted to continue playing the film. “At tonight’s premiere of Lifetime’s documentary series Surviving R. Kelly at NeueHouse Madison Square, several anonymous threats were called in. As a precaution, the network chose to evacuate the building. The safety and security of our panel, guests and staff is of paramount importance to Lifetime,” said Lifetime in a statement.
Meanwhile, NeueHouse shared in a statement, “NeueHouse has always existed to celebrate creatives, entrepreneurs and activists with important and meaningful stories to share. The safety of our storytellers and of our members is always our first priority. Tonight was no different. Despite non-credible threats called in during tonight’s screening, we followed appropriate safety protocols in collaboration with the NYPD and elected to postpone the event. We stand by the creative women bringing these heroic stories to light.”
Also attending the screening were activist and #MeToo founder Tarana Bruke, Kelly’s accusers Jerhonda Pace, Lisa Van Allen and Asante McGee. “Surviving R. Kelly” is set to debut on Lifetime on January 2, 2019.
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