by G. Brown
Attorneys for embattled singer R. Kelly is asking a civil court judge for a do-over of sorts. Attorneys say last week’s loss in a sexual abuse civil court case shouldn’t count because it isn’t Kelly’s fault that he can’t read.
Kelly’s defense team blames the “Bump and Grind” singer’s “learning disability that adversely affects his ability to read”. Since he couldn’t read and comprehend the court papers, Kelly didn’t know he was scheduled to be there. Kelly’s lawyers are asking the court to vacate the decision.
Meanwhile, more bad news for Kelly. The network that rained down this current firestorm engulfing Kelly is planning to release another docuseries.
Deadline is reporting that Lifetime channel is planning a “two-hour follow-up special”.
It was just four months ago when Lifetime premiered its first probing look into Kelly’s alleged deviant sex life in the docu-series “Surviving R. Kelly”. The six-part documentary proved a ratings goldmine attracting over 2 million viewers nightly. Millions more later saw replays of the doc, streamed or viewed it on DVRs bringing the total number of viewers to an estimated 26 million people.
The doc elevated consciousness about sexual assault and ushered in open and honest conversations about the formerly taboo topic.
According to Deadline, “In the days following the January debut of the docu-series…calls to sexual assault hotlines increased by 35%…”. A movement was unearthed that could no longer be covered up. Deadline says, “… and #MuteRKelly activists were galvanized to protest for R. Kelly’s record label to drop him.” The docu-series started an avalanche that has left Kelly buried under 10 felony counts of aggravated sexual assault, arrests, court appearances, entanglements, lawsuits canceled concerts, radio station bans and loss of income.
Everything that Kelly once enjoyed of his celebrity lifestyle is slowly crumbling from the crushing weight of public opinion. But that opinion can be as varied as the public espousing it. There are still pockets of Kelly supporters who say the man and his music must be separated.
And there are those who query if the move against Kelly is not such a sweeping change towards justice or move drawn along racial lines since other high-profile celebrities and politicians like movie mogul Harvey Weinstein and President Donald Trump have also faced allegations of sexual assault and suffered no consequences near the severity of those against Kelly.
The first expose by Lifetime has left Kelly’s music career in shambles. Is there more damage to be done with a follow-up doc? If Lifetime is out to gain justice for all victims, with the hordes of Hollywood types from Kevin Spacey to Ryan Seacrest being accused of similar assault, then why not expose another alleged predator?
The trailer for the new docuseries says, “The far-reaching impact” the series had on our society. But the only series impacted directly the victims of one alleged abuser. Until the net is cast wide enough to pursue justice for all victims, the celebration seems a bit premature.
Lifetime’s new docu-series follow up, “Surviving R. Kelly: The Impact”, will be hosted by former CNN anchor and award-winning journalist Soledad O’Brien. According to Deadline, this second doc will highlight “the impact the documentary has had on our culture globally, how it has elevated the conversation on sexual violence and what it means to be a survivor.” The follow-up doc is set to air May 4 at 10 pm on Lifetime. You can catch the trailer below.