The premiere of long-awaited docuseries Surviving R. Kelly was halted on Tuesday night after gun threats were called in — and the singer’s wife thinks he is in some way connected to them.
The three-part docuseries is set to air on Lifetime in January and was slated to premiere in New York City on Tuesday night. But NeueHouse Madison Square was evacuated not long after the screening started when multiple threats came in saying that if the film continued to run, an armed person inside the theater would begin shooting, CNN reports.
Though the threat turned out not to be credible, Lifetime opted to shut the film down and evacuate the theater anyway. “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,” a spokesperson for the network revealed.
So…Y’ALL ARE NOT GOING TO BELIEVE THIS!
Tonight was a private screening of the @lifetimetv documentary #survivingRkelly where his survivors, parents of survivors, and folks featured in the doc were gathered and a BOMB THREAT was called in and the event shut down. #muteRkelly
— Tarana (@TaranaBurke) December 5, 2018
— April (@ReignOfApril) December 5, 2018
Did R. Kelly have anything to do with Surviving R. Kelly shooting threats?
Following the threat of violence at the Surviving R. Kelly screening, there have obviously been questions about who was behind them. Shortly afterwards, his wife Andrea “Drea” Kelly said she believed they were linked to the singer. She told Variety:
I can’t speak to what he would or would not do because I don’t know what his mindset is right now. But I would say that I don’t believe in happenstance, I don’t believe that anything is a coincidence. I do believe that in some shape, form or fashion it is connected to him. Now, whether he orchestrated it or not, that I cannot say. But I just do not believe in coincidences. Of all the theaters, of all the nights, of all the premieres, it happened with us.
Dream Hampton, the executive producer and showrunner for the Lifetime expose also appears to believe that R. Kelly or someone associated with him may have had something to do with it. She said in a statement to CNN:
Calling in a non-credible threat to the NYPD to interrupt our screening is an act of desperation from people who don’t want these truths shared with the world.
The threat reportedly came after Surviving R. Kelly had already played through. After the screening, there was a scheduled panel where seven of R. Kelly’s accusers were scheduled to speak. It was 15 minutes into that panel that two calls were reportedly made, threatening that someone would start shooting if the event wasn’t shut down.
After consulting local police, the theater was evacuated and the scheduled panel was shut down and postponed. An investigation is ongoing and it is not yet known who made the threatening calls. R. Kelly denies the allegations against him.
Surviving R. Kelly is a three-part series scheduled to premiere on Lifetime on January 3.