A New York City screening for Lifetime’s upcoming documentary series “Surviving R. Kelly” was evacuated over a gun threat on Tuesday evening, Variety has learned.
The event was evacuated as a precaution after a gun threat was called into the event, a Lifetime representative tells Variety.
Present at the screening and conversation, held at NeueHouse Madison Square in the Gramercy area of Manhattan, were #MeToo founder Tarana Burke, along with R. Kelly accusers Kitti Jones, Jerhonda Pace, Lisa Van Allen and Asante McGee, who were all set to share their stories publicly on the panel.
The event began with a screening at 7:00 p.m., followed by an 8:30 p.m. panel discussion, which was planned to be followed with a reception. Roughly 15 minutes into the panel conversation, two anonymous calls were made into the venue with the caller stating that someone had a gun in the theater. The calls were routed to the NYPD who suggested evacuating the theater.
“It was very painful for the survivors that they were not able to share their stories,” a source explains.
Burke, who appears in the documentary series and was a panelist at the Tuesday night event, tweeted about the evacuation, suggesting that the harassment Kelly’s alleged victims endured is worse than the gun threat, which she tweeted “didn’t appear to be credible.”
— Tarana (@TaranaBurke) December 5, 2018
“Surviving R. Kelly” is a six-part, three-night documentary series that puts a spotlight on accusers of R. Kelly, the Grammy-winning R&B singer, who has been accused by multiple women of sexual misconduct and abuse. In 2017, the musician was accused by three sets of parents of holding their daughters in an abusive cult, though Kelly has denied the allegations. Earlier this year, the Times Up movement backed a protest of Kelly’s music.
The Lifetime series, which premieres on Jan. 3, brings together alleged victims of Kelly, who are described by the cable network as “survivors,” to share their allegations of his sexual, mental and physical abuse. The project features more than 50 interviews with public figures including Burke, John Legend, Wendy Williams, plus Kelly’s brothers, ex-wife Andrea Kelly and his ex-girlfriend Jones, who was at the event that was evacuated on Tuesday night.
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