New York City police reportedly linked a person in R. Kelly's entourage to the shooting threat that led to the premiere screening of Surviving R. Kelly being evacuated in December.
Law enforcement sources told TMZ Thursday that Donnell Russell is listed as the "person of interest" in connection with the incident. Russell is a business associate of Kelly's, according to the site. Police want to talk to him about the threats that were called into the NeueHouse venue, which hosted the screening.
Last week, Timothy Savage, the father of Jocelyn Savage, one of Kelly's alleged "sex slaves," filed police reports last week in Georgia, claiming a man named "Don Russell" sent him threats via text massage just before Surviving R. Kelly began on Lifetime.
According to the Associated Press, Savage told a police officer on Jan. 3 that Russell texted him threats. The police report states that Savage even received a phone call from Russell while a police officer was there.
Savage put Russell on speaker phone so the officer could hear Russell accuse Savage of lying to Lifetime. Russell claimed Kelly would release information damaging to Savage's reputation if Savage still supported the Lifetime series, the police report claimed.
TMZ's sources said the "Don" mentioned in Savage's police report is the same man as the person the NYPD named a "person of interest."
On Dec. 4, the New York premiere of Surviving R. Kelly was interrupted by a shooting threat. Everyone was forced to leave the theater.
"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," Tarana Burke, the creator of the #MeToo hashtag who attended the screening, 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."
Surviving R. Kelly is a six-hour documentary series that debuted on Lifetime last week and drew an overwhelming response from viewers and celebrities. The series delved into the allegations of sexual harassment and assault against Kelly, and his relationships with young women. He allegedly runs a sex cult, an allegation that Kelly has denied.
In response, the "I Believe I Can Fly" singer created a Facebook page called "Surviving Lies" and plans to launch an accompanying website in an effort to discredit his alleged victims. Facebook pulled down the page and the website has yet to go live.
After the series aired, TMZ reported that the Fulton County, Georgia District Attorney's Office opened a criminal investigation into the claims against Kelly.0comments
Musicians who have worked with Kelly in the past have been called out, including Lady Gaga, who said she supports the victims and asked iTunes to remove the song she recorded with him.
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