After being called out online for not speaking out against former collaborator R. Kelly‘s alleged sexual abuse—especially in the wake of those allegations’ resurfacing in the new Surviving R. Kelly docuseries—Lady Gaga has issued a formal apology for her silence on the matter and for her collaboration on 2013’s “Do What U Want (With My Body).” Gaga shared the statement on Twitter on Wednesday evening, with the caption, “I stand by anyone who has ever been the victim of sexual assault.”
She began her apology by offering her support to the survivors of R. Kelly’s alleged abuse, noting, “What I am hearing about the allegations against R Kelly is absolutely horrifying and indefensible.” She went on to explain how her own history of sexual abuse influenced the content of the 2013 track and its accompanying video, which she said were made during a “dark time” in her life. “My intention was 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,” she wrote. “I think it’s clear how explicitly twisted my thinking was at the time.”
Gaga continued, “If I could go back and have a talk with my younger self, I’d tell her to go through the therapy I have since then, so that I could understand the confused post-traumatic state that I was in—or if therapy was not available to me or anyone in my situation—to seek help, and speak as openly and honestly as possible about what we’ve been through. I can’t go back, but I can go forward and continue to support women, men, and people of all sexual identities, and of all races, who are victims of sexual assault.”
After clarifying that the statement’s intention wasn’t to make excuses for her actions, but to attempt to explain them, Gaga wrote, “Til it happens to you, you don’t know how it feels. But I do know how I feel now. I intend to remove this song off of iTunes and other streaming platforms and will not be working with him again.” She added, “I’m sorry, both for my poor judgment when I was young, and for not speaking out sooner. I love you.”
At the time of their collaboration, which came after R. Kelly had been acquitted in a child pornography trial, Gaga defended working with him. “Both R. Kelly and I have, sometimes, very untrue things written about us,” she said during a press conference in 2013, per The Washington Post. “In a way, this was a bond between us. We were able to say, ‘The public, they can have our bodies, but they cannot have our mind or our heart.’ It was a very natural collaboration.”
Since Surviving R. Kelly premiered on Lifetime, a Georgia district attorney’s office has reportedly opened an investigation into the allegations of sexual abuse, and a Chicago prosecutor has reportedly asked for the cooperation of survivors and witnesses. R. Kelly has denied the accusations.