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The premiere was being held at NeueHouse Madison Square and featured special guests including #MeToo founder Tarana Burke, cultural critic Jamilah Lemieux and accusers of Kelly, including Kitti Jones, Jerhonda Pace, Lisa Van Allen, Asante McGee and Lizzette Martinez. All were asked to leave the venue following the threat.
“As a precaution, we evacuated,” a Lifetime representative told The Hollywood Reporter. The premiere has been called off and Lifetime will regroup tomorrow do discuss potentially rescheduling. “Tonight’s all about the safety of everyone — we’re not even thinking of what to do next yet,” the representative added.
The caller was anonymous, but the call originated from Chicago, Lifetime told THR. The New York Police Department could not immediately confirm they had anyone on the scene to investigate.
Twitter users tweeted from the scene on Tuesday, with one post showing guests in formal wear standing out on the sidewalk in front of the venue.
Over the past several years, prior to and in the aftermath of the #MeToo movement, Kelly has been accused of sexual coercion, violence and running a “sex cult,” according to a story on Buzzfeed that was published in July. Though Kelly has never been convicted of a crime, renewed attention to these accusations, in addition to new claims in 2018, led to a #MuteRKelly movement on social media. In the aftermath, Spotify removed Kelly from Spotify playlists and algorithm recommendations and several of the R&B singer’s tour dates were canceled. In April, Time’s Up called for an official investigation of claims against Kelly.
Lifetime’s three-part series gathers accusers of the artist and individuals from his “inner circle,” according to the cabler, to detail alleged physical, emotional and mental abuse by the artist. Buzzfeed has its own R. Kelly documentary in development at Hulu, THR reported in May.
Surviving R. Kelly, which will air over the course of three nights, is set to premiere Jan. 3 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Lifetime.
The #SurvivingRKelly premiere was just evacuated because we received a threat. The survivors were whisked away. I have the full video on IG and I’m gonna post clips in this thread
— ~Femme~ (@FeministaJones) 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
— Tarana (@TaranaBurke) December 5, 2018
THE #survivingRKelly SCREENING WAS JUST SHUT DOWN BECAUSE OF A THREAT TO THE VENUE
— Jamilah Lemieux (@JamilahLemieux) December 5, 2018
— April (@ReignOfApril) December 5, 2018
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