Lady Gaga issued an emotional statement on Twitter early Thursday morning, apologizing for working with R. Kelly back in 2013. In the message, she detailed why she made the song “Do What U Want” and how she believes all of the women who spoke out in Lifetime’s documentary Surviving R. Kelly.
“As a victim of sexual assault myself, I made both the song and the video at a dark time in my life,” Gaga wrote. “My intention was to create something defiant and provocative because I was angry and still hadn’t processed the trauma that occurred in my own life.”
She continued, “The song is called ‘Do What U Want (With My Body),’ I think it’s clear how explicitly twisted my thinking was at the time.”
I stand by anyone who has ever been the victim of sexual assault: pic.twitter.com/67sz4WpV3i
— Lady Gaga (@ladygaga) January 10, 2019
The docuseries premiered last week and detailed the allegations that R. Kelly had sexually abused multiple underage women. Many of the allegations were largely ignored by the public, and R. Kelly has on multiple occasions denied these claims. According to The New York Times, the documentary’s reporting has since led the police to launch an investigation. It has also sparked the #MuteRKelly movement, which hopes to finally put an end to his career.
Celebrities such as John Legend and Chance the Rapper have appeared on the documentary series in solidarity with R. Kelly’s alleged victims. Many viewers expected Lady Gaga to also be a part of the project. According to Surviving R. Kelly producer Dream Hampton to The Detroit Free Press, she declined to participate. The two collaborated together for “Do What U Want,” which was Gaga’s second single in 2013 for her album Artpop.
Lady Gaga has also defended the song before. The New York Times reports that she said at a news conference in 2013, “R. Kelly and I have sometimes very untrue things written about us, so in a way this was a bond between us.”
After the series finale on Sunday, fans begged Gaga on social media to apologize for the song.
— Brandi Glanville (@BrandiGlanville) January 6, 2019
“I stand behind these women 1000%, believe them, know they are suffering and in pain, and feel strongly that their voices should be heard and taken seriously,” the singer wrote on Thursday. “What I’m hearing about the allegations against R. Kelly is absolutely horrifying and indefensible.”
At the end of her apology, Gaga revealed she would remove the song from iTunes and other streaming services. As of Thursday night, the song has been removed from iTunes. As of right now, it has yet to be removed from Spotify.
“I’m sorry, both for my poor judgment when I was young, and for not speaking out sooner,” the statement concluded. “I love you.”