R. Kelly allegedly threatens Lifetime with lawsuit over upcoming documentary

Surviving R. Kelly, set to premiere on Thursday January 3, contains interviews with women who claim they were abused by the singer.

January 03, 2019

Lifetime's three-part documentary Surviving R. Kelly is scheduled to premiere on Thursday January 3, but lawyers for R. Kelly have reportedly sent the network a letter threatening a lawsuit if the program airs, according to a report in TMZ.

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Kelly's attorney Brian Nix claims in the letter obtained by TMZ that the documentary contains defaming claims about the singer. Surviving R. Kelly features interviews with women who claim they were physically and mentally abused by Kelly. Nix is reportedly threatening to file a federal lawsuit, and according to TMZ, Kelly is claiming the women interviewed in the documentary are lying about him in order to become famous.

R. Kelly was alleged in a 2017 Buzzfeed investigation to be abusing and imprisoning women in a "sex cult." Kelly denied the claims, and one of the alleged victims, Joycelyn Savage, dismissed the report and the concerns of her parents.

The "cult" story was written by Chicago reporter Jim DeRogatis, who in 2002 broke the story of the existence of a tape reportedly depicting R. Kelly urinating on an underage girl. Kelly was indicted on 22 counts of child pornography and found not guilty of all charges.

Since 2017, Kelly has been the subject of another documentary R Kelly: Sex, Girls, and Videotapes, which contained new allegations of sexual and psychological abuse. Buzzfeed is currently producing a documentary on the allegations for Hulu.

The FADER has reached out to R. Kelly's representatives for comment.

Thumbnail photo by Mike Pont/Getty Images

R. Kelly allegedly threatens Lifetime with lawsuit over upcoming documentary