Lady Gaga on Wednesday apologized for her past collaboration with embattled R&B singer R. Kelly and said that she would pull their 2013 song together from streaming services like iTunes.
The singer-actress, who is considered a likely Oscar nominee for her feature lead debut in Bradley Cooper’s “A Star Is Born,” spoke out after public pressure mounted due to a recent Lifetime documentary series, “Surviving R. Kelly,” that chronicled the many women who have accused the singer of abuse, predatory behavior and pedophilia. (Kelly has denied the accusations.)
“I stand behind these women 1000 percent, believe them, know they are suffering and in pain, and feel strongly that their voices should be heard and taken seriously,” Gaga wrote in a statement on Twitter, announcing that she would pull the 2013 single “Do What U Want (With My Body)” from online distribution.
“I intend to remove this song off of iTunes and other streaming platforms and will not be working with him again,” she said. “I’m sorry, both for my poor judgment when I was young, and for not speaking out sooner.”
The song generated much attention at the time for the vocal contributions of Kelly, who had been tried on child pornography charges in Chicago in 2008; the singer was acquitted.
During a press conference in 2013, Gaga defended working with the singer. “R. Kelly and I have sometimes very untrue things written about us, so in a way this was a bond between us,” she said. “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.”
But in her new statement, Gaga acknowledged that she has reassessed her position. “As a victim of sexual assault myself, I made both the song and the 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,” Lady Gaga said.
I stand by anyone who has ever been the victim of sexual assault: pic.twitter.com/67sz4WpV3i
— Lady Gaga (@ladygaga) January 10, 2019