A screening of Lifetime’s forthcoming Surviving R. Kelly documentary was evacuated due to a gun threat. Reportedly, a pair of threatening phone calls were received which caused the precautionary action.
According to Variety, the threatening phone calls came in about 15 minutes into the screening which was scheduled to start at 7 pm, following by a panel at 8:30 pm. However, a pair of anonymous phone calls came into the venue, NeueHouse Madison Square, which contacted the NYPD, and the authorities recommended the evacuation.
Said Lifetime via a statement, ““At tonight’s premiere of Lifetime’s documentary series ‘Surviving R. Kelly’ at NeueHouse Madison Square, several anonymous threats were called in. 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,” the network said in a statement.”
The venue also released the following statement: “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. 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.”
The panelists included seven women who are R. Kelly accusers—Drea Kelly, his ex-wife, Kitti Jones, Asante Jones, Faith Rodgers, Lizzette Martinez, Lisa Van Allen and Jerhonda Pace—all who were also in the film. Also in attendance was #MeToo founder Tarana Burke and panel host Angela Yee of The Breakfast Club.
Nevertheless, Surviving R. Kelly is a six-part, three-night documentary series that features numerous women accusing the R&B crooner of sexual assault and abuse. The series will premiere on January 3, and Twitter will be lit.