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Lady Gaga is taking her R. Kelly collaboration off streaming and iTunes

Gaga made a song with R. Kelly in 2013. Now, she says the choice was “twisted.”

2013 American Music Awards - Show
Lady Gaga and R. Kelly performing together at the 2013 American Music Awards.
Kevin Winter/Getty Images
Constance Grady is a senior correspondent on the Culture team for Vox, where since 2016 she has covered books, publishing, gender, celebrity analysis, and theater.

In the wake of Lifetime’s Surviving R. Kelly docuseries, Lady Gaga has added her voice to the growing swell of music stars speaking out against R. Kelly.

The series, which aired last week in six parts and averaged 2.1 million viewers per episode, covers 25 years of accusations of sexual abuse against the R&B legend, including the allegation that he is currently holding young women captive in what is essentially a cult.

Since the docuseries aired, reports have surfaced that the district attorney in Fulton County, Georgia, has opened a new criminal investigation against Kelly. In the meantime, Kelly appears to be slowly but surely losing the support of his peers in the music industry.

In episodes of Surviving R. Kelly, both John Legend and Chance the Rapper spoke out against Kelly.

“Time’s up for R. Kelly,” said Legend.

“Making a song with R. Kelly was a mistake,” said Chance, who collaborated with Kelly on his 2015 track “Somewhere in Paradise.”

Now Lady Gaga is speaking out, calling the accusations against Kelly “absolutely horrifying and indefensible.” Gaga featured Kelly on her 2013 single “Do What U Want (With My Body),” a choice she now says she regrets.

“As a victim of sexual assault myself, I made both the song and video at a dark time in my life,” Gaga writes in a statement shared via Twitter, adding, “my intention was to create something extremely defiant and provocative because I was angry and still hadn’t processed trauma that had occurred in my own life.” Now, she says, “I think it’s clear how explicitly twisted my thinking was at the time.”

Gaga announced that she will not be working with Kelly again, and she will be removing “Do What U Want” from iTunes and from music streaming platforms. “I’m sorry, both for my poor judgment when I was younger, and for not speaking out sooner,” she writes.

You can read Gaga’s full statement on Twitter, and you can read a full timeline of the accusations against R. Kelly on Vox.

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