R. Kelly Threatens to File Federal Lawsuit Against Lifetime If It Airs Documentary [Updated]

R. Kelly performs during The Buffet Tour on May 7, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois.
R. Kelly performs during The Buffet Tour on May 7, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois.
Photo: Daniel Boczarski (Getty Images)

The much-anticipated night of Lifetime’s Surviving R. Kelly has come, and right on schedule, Robert Kelly is threatening legal action.


According to TMZ, Kelly’s lawyer Brian Nix is threatening to file a federal lawsuit against Lifetime if the network doesn’t backpedal on deciding to air the documentary special. We have a feeling it’s going to air as planned, despite the legal threats.

Kelly also claims he is in possession of two recordings proving Lifetime was aware that “some of the girls are lying, but that the budget was too high to turn back now.”

In an interview with Shadow & Act, executive producer Dream Hampton noted she was “at war with R. Kelly.” Hampton also touched on the difficulties concerning celebrity participation.

“John Legend was the only one,” Hampton confirmed. “I asked Jay-Z, I asked Mary J. Blige, I asked Lil Kim, Erykah Badu, Dave Chappelle...” But, they all said no. “I mean, most people just don’t want to touch it. I remember Ahmir [“Questlove” Thompson] was like, ‘I would do anything for you but I can’t do this.’ It’s not because they support him, it’s because it’s so messy and muddy. It’s that turning away that has allowed this to go on.”

The consecutive three-night event of Surviving R. Kelly begins Thursday, Jan. 3 at 9 p.m. ET on Lifetime.


Update: 1/3/2019, 5:55 p.m. ET:

Questlove responded to Hampton’s quote via Twitter on Thursday evening noting, “I always thought Kels was trash. My reason for declining the R. Kelly [documentary] that I support 10000000 percent is I didn’t wanna be in the ‘good times’ portion of the doc, like stanning for his ‘genius.’ I was asked to talk about his genius.”


Additionally, The Root talked with Andrea Kelly, Kitti Jones, Jerhonda Pace and Angelo Cray in anticipation of Lifetime’s documentary.


Due to the serious accusations and allegations made in the video, we have reached out to R. Kelly for comment.

Staff Writer, Entertainment at The Root. Sugar, spice & everything rice. Equipped with the uncanny ability to make a Disney reference and a double entendre in the same sentence.


Nunna Yorz - American Justice Is A Joke

What kills me about this dude is that much like the NFL, black people won’t leave him the fuck alone. People still love his music, he can probably still pack stadiums, and celebrities still won’t use their voices to speak out against him.