At the beginning of January, a docuseries detailing numerous allegations against singer R. Kelly aired in the U.S, (Kelly denies all allegations made against him). After making a major impact both on social media and in the music industry, the six-part series is finally making its way overseas. If you've been wondering how to watch Surviving R. Kelly in the UK, here's everything you need to know.
From Tuesday, Feb. 5, the Crime+Investigation channel will be the place to go to watch the powerful and upsetting documentary. (The channel is available for Sky, Virgin, BT, and TalkTalk TV subscribers.) More than 40 people were interviewed for the series with individuals ranging from family members and ex-partners to former colleagues and alleged victims of Kelly.
Some of the allegations are already public knowledge. In 2002, a video depicting Kelly having sex with an underage girl was leaked. He was arrested later in the year and charged with multiple counts of making child pornography. The singer denied all of the charges and pleaded not guilty. As the New York Times reports, the case didn't make it to court until 2008 where the jury ultimately found Kelly not guilty on all 14 counts.
More recent accusations came courtesy of a Buzzfeed investigation. Journalist Jim DeRogatis, who has been looking into Kelly for years, reported that the now 52-year-old singer was keeping young and underage women against their will in houses that he rented. As the Los Angeles Times reports, Kelly denied the "abusive cult" allegations.
There are also reports that a 27-year-old Kelly married fellow singer Aaliyah in 1994 when she was just 15. Although Kelly has once again denied this, the Washington Post reports that his former tour manager said he took Aaliyah to get a fake ID that would state she was 18. The marriage was later annulled by her family.
The docuseries uses testimony from a wide range of people to delve further into allegations and shed light on how Kelly's career rose while his alleged victims were ignored. Several notable events have occurred since the series aired in the U.S.
The series' producer Dream Hampton told the Detroit Free Press that former collaborators of Kelly, including Lady Gaga, Celine Dion, and Jay-Z, had been approached. It seems that none agreed to feature. However, Lady Gaga did speak out on social media to say that she stands by anyone who has ever been the victim of sexual assault "100 percent" and intends to remove the song she made with Kelly from all streaming platforms.
John Legend — one of the only celebrities to appear in the documentary — opened up about why he agreed to be interviewed. "To everyone telling me how courageous I am for appearing in the doc, it didn’t feel risky at all. I believe these women and don’t give a f*** about protecting a serial child rapist. Easy decision," he tweeted.
Kelly's 20-year-old daughter Buku Abi also spoke out. She hasn't seen or spoken to her father in years, but wrote in an Instagram story: "It has been very difficult to process it all, let alone gather all the right words to express everything I feel. The same monster you are all confronting me about is my father. I am well aware of who and what he is. I grew up in that house."
According to Variety, Kelly's record label has ceased its working relationship with the singer. The publication reports that Kelly was removed from the RCA Records website on Jan. 18, but that a source said no external announcement concerning the matter had been planned. Kelly has released music independently in the past couple of years, but last released an album with RCA in 2016.
But Don Russell, an advisor and consultant for the singer, told Rolling Stone that Kelly's contract with RCA had two albums remaining. The magazine asked Russell if Kelly was planing any legal action against the reported termination of his contract, to which he replied: “Our goal is not to go after anybody because [Kelly] wants everybody to be happy." He also stated that several record labels were "very interested" in working with Kelly. It's unclear if the singer will be releasing new music in the future.
Surviving R. Kelly will air on Crime+Investigation every Tuesday at 10 p.m. from Feb. 5.