Arsenio Hall Dishes on R. Kelly, Michael Jackson Ahead of Nashville Standup Return

Arsenio Hall recently dished on R. Kelly and Michael Jackson, ahead of his Nashville, Tennessee, stand-up return at Zanies.

While speaking exclusively with, Hall opened up and revealed that he was not surprised when the numerous sexual assault allegations against Kelly came out.

"I think a lot of show business and society is sometimes to blame because we turn our head and look the other way," Hall said, then going onto refer to Kelly's previously relationship with late singer Aaliyah, whom he was married to when she was just a teenager.

"I'm old enough to have met Aaliyah when she was alive and you know I remember looking at her and the first thing I thought was, wow, this is the young lady," Hall shared. "And we're aware of it."

As Hall mentions, the public is now "aware" of multiple allegations against Kelly — due to the Surviving R. Kelly docuseries — as well as the secret marriage that he had to Aaliyah in the mid-'90s.

The iconic TV host also went on to share that he was dealt with a dilemma when Kelly wanted to come on his rebooted late night series a few years back.

"When I did the reboot of my talk show the night Nelson Mandela died somebody called me and said, 'R. Kelly called the office. He wants to come on and play a song for Nelson Mandela that he played in Nelson's house on Nelson's piano.' And on a day like that — I'm an executive producer of the show — I'm like geez, because I know, I know who he really is," Hall said.

"Now sure, I've never seen his tapes, but we know the rumors and we know what we hear. And unfortunately I think we look the other way," he went on to say.

Regarding Jackson, Hall referred to the recent documentary film about sexual assault allegations against the late King of PopLeaving Neverland — as well as the interview that Oprah Winfrey did with the accusers.

"I love, I adore the catalog of Michael Jackson, but at the same time I know I have to kind of put some things in the back of my mind and ignore some things and you know, it's like you look at these things and you listen to Oprah and a lot of people are angry at Oprah, a lot of people are angry but the bottom line is maybe not enough of us speak out," he said.

Hall is currently preparing to return to the big screen alongside Eddie Murphy in the sequel to 1988's Coming to America, but first he takes the stage at Zanies in Nashville for four shows.


Hall will be performing Friday, April 19 and Saturday, April 20, with two shows each night at 7 p.m. and 9:15 p.m. Tickets can be purchased directly from Zanies here.

Photo Credit: Getty / Michael S. Schwartz