Lady Gaga has apologized for her 2013 duet with alleged sexual predator R. Kelly and has vowed to remove the song from streaming platforms.
"What I am hearing about the allegations against R Kelly is absolutely horrifying and indefensible," Gaga tweeted Thursday after longstanding accusations against the R&B singer were revived with Lifetime's documentary miniseries "Surviving R. Kelly," which aired last week. "As a victim of sexual assault myself, I made both the songs and video at a dark time in my life," she said, referring to multiple remixes of "Do What U Want," whose title she misremembered as "Do What U Want (With My Body)."
She added that her intention with the song had been "to create something extremely defiant and provocative because I was angry and still hadn't processed the trauma that had occurred in my own life. I think it's clear how explicitly twisted my thinking was at the time."
Gaga, 32, has spoken publicly of being raped at 19 by a man two decades older, saying she had told no one for several years, had blamed herself, and that it had traumatized and changed her. "If I could go back and have a talk with my younger self," she tweeted Thursday, "I'd tell her to go through the therapy I have [had] since then, so that I could understand the confused post-traumatic state that I was in," or that if therapy were unavailable, "to seek help, and speak as openly and honestly as possible about what we've been through."
Saying she stands behind the accusers "1000%," Gaga expressed her support for sexual-assault victims and said she would remove the Kelly collaboration, which appears on her album "Artpop," from "iTunes and other streaming platforms and will not be working with him again. I'm sorry, both for my poor judgment when I was young, and for not speaking out sooner."
Kelly, 52, has not responded to Gaga's statement, and his record-company representative did not reply to a Newsday request for comment. The singer has steadfastly denied allegations of sexual abuse. Additionally, child pornography charges in Illinois in 2002 resulted in acquittal at trial, and similar charges in Florida in 2003 were dropped.
The Cook County state attorney's office in Kelly's native Chicago said Thursday it is investigating new claims arising in the wake of the documentary series.
Some of Kelly's musical collaborators, including Chance the Rapper, have expressed regret over working with Kelly, with John Legend taking a strong stance for a year supporting the accusers. Other collaborators who have not commented include Justin Bieber, Mariah Carey, Celine Dion, Jay-Z, Kid Rock, Usher and Kanye West.