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Shooting threat halts R Kelly documentary screening

DOCUMENTARY: R Kelly has repeatedly denied the allegations of sexual assault made against him

GUESTS ATTENDING a private screening of a documentary on R Kelly, which focuses on the stories of women who have accused the singer of sexual abuse, had to be evacuated after police were contacted about the threat of a shooting.

The Lifetime documentary, Surviving R Kelly, was due to be screened at NeueHouse Madison Square but was called off after several threats were made.

An anonymous caller said that someone inside the venue would begin shooting if the film was shown.

"As a precaution, the network chose to evacuate the building. The safety and security of our panel, guests and staff is of paramount importance to Lifetime," CNN reported the network said.

The threats have since been deemed non-credible.

Dream Hampton, executive producer of the documentary, told CNN: "Calling in a non-credible threat to the NYPD to interrupt our screening is an act of desperation from people who don't want these truths shared with the world.

"The survivors who bravely sat with me for this docuseries know all too well what R Kelly is capable of, every one of them has stories of being abused and controlled by him."

Tarana Burke, the founder of the #MeToo movement and a vocal supporter of the Mute R Kelly campaign, which seeks to have the singer’s material blacklisted from radio stations, streaming platforms and concert venues, was at the screening.

Burke, who appears in the documentary, tweeted about the incident.

She said: “The worst of it isn’t the threat though [because] it didn’t appear to be credible but the survivors who had to endure his harassment.”

R Kelly has repeatedly denied the allegations. In July he released I Admit, a 19-minute song in which he confessed to doing a list of things such as “dropping out of school” and making some mistakes but refuted claims that he was a paedophile and had abused women.

The six-part documentary series is set to air on US TV channel Lifetime Friday January 3-5.

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