The premiere of the documentary Surviving R. Kelly was cut short on Tuesday night as a gun threat reportedly forced viewers to evacuate.
A Lifetime documentary about R. Kelly's alleged sexual misconduct over the years was set to premiere in New York City this week before things took a dangerous turn. Several of Kelly's alleged victims were in attendance, according to Entertainment Tonight, when the threat of a shooting forced everyone out of the theater.
The premiere was at NeueHouse in Madison Square Garden. It was also attended by Tarana Burke, who coined the hashtag "Me Too" and works as a prominent activist within the movement. Afterwards, she addressed the threat on Twitter, describing the event as a "private screening."
The worst of it isn’t the threat though bc it didn’t appear to be credible but the survivors who had to endure his harassment. #muteRkelly— Tarana (@TaranaBurke) December 5, 2018
"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," she tweeted. "The worst of it isn’t the threat though bc it didn’t appear to be credible but the survivors who had to endure his harassment. #muteRkelly."
Lifetime issued a statement to ET as well, acknowledging the threats and offering a few more details.
"At tonight’s premiere of Lifetime’s documentary series Surviving R. Kelly at NeueHouse Madison Square, several anonymous threats were called in," it said. "As a precaution, the network elected to evacuate the building. The safety and security of our panel, guests and staff is of paramount importance to Lifetime."
Meanwhile, the venue itself responded as well, adding that the NYPD was involved in the evacuation order.
"NeueHouse has always existed to celebrate creatives, entrepreneurs and activists with important and meaningful stories to share. The safety of our storytellers and of our members is always our first priority. Tonight was no different," a spokesperson for the venue said.
"Despite non-credible threats called in during tonight’s screening, we followed appropriate safety protocols in collaboration with the NYPD and elected to postpone the event. We stand by the creative women bringing these heroic stories to light."0comments
Kelly has never been convicted of a crime, yet he faces accusations of sexual assault from many women, some of whom were underage at the time of the alleged attacks. He was even accused of running a "sex cult," where he kidnapped women and girls and held them prisoner. He has denied all these claims both in court and in a 19-minute song called "I Admit."
Surviving R. Kelly premieres in three parts on Jan. 3, Jan. 4 and Jan. 5 on Lifetime.