Update: Lifetime tells TMZ that they plan to air the documentary as scheduled. “Lifetime has always been a brand that champions women’s stories,” a rep adds.
Lifetime is slated to air their highly-anticipated Surviving R. Kelly documentary Thursday night (Jan. 3); it will feature testimonies from a group of women that allegedly encountered mental, physical, and sexual abuse at the hands of R. Kelly throughout his music career.
Now, according to a legal letter obtained by TMZ, the Chicago native’s legal team is reportedly threatening to sue Lifetime if they don’t pull the plug on the upcoming three-night series.
The 51-year-old’s lawyer, Brian Nix, alleges that the documentary is filled with false allegations, as he believes the subjects are defaming Kelly for personal gain. Kelly also says he has “audio recordings that show Lifetime knew ‘some of the girls are lying, but that the budget was too high to turn back now,'” as the outlet reports.
Aaliyah‘s mother, Diane Haughton, also spoke out against claims from one of R. Kelly’s former backup dancers that said she witnessed the relationship between her daughter and Kelly turn sexual while traveling on tour together when the “Are You That Somebody” artist was just 15 years old.
“The woman and so-called back up singer that describes seeing, meeting or ever breathing the same air as my daughter, Aaliyah, is lying and is a liar,” Haughton told E! News. “My husband and I were always on tour with her and at interviews and every place she went throughout her entire career. Whoever this woman is, I have never seen her before anywhere on planet earth, until now.”
In a recent interview with Detroit Free Press, producer dream hampton shared that John Legend would be the only celebrity to participate in the documentary. “When it comes to celebrities, It was incredibly difficult to get people who had collaborated (artistically) with Kelly to come forward. We asked Lady Gaga. We asked Erykah Badu. We asked Celine Dion. We asked Jay-Z. We asked Dave Chappelle,” he explained. “(They’re) people who have been critical of him. That makes John Legend even more of a hero for me.”
Billboard has reached out to R. Kelly’s lawyer for comment.