Lady Gaga has broken her silence over allegations against R Kelly.
The pop superstar collaborated with R Kelly on her 2013 single Do What U Want, but has now announced plans to remove the song from all platforms following allegations of sexual misconduct against the R&B singer.
“I stand behind these women 1000%, believe them, know they are suffering and in pain, and feel strongly that their voices should be heard and taken seriously,” she wrote in a forthright message shared on social media.
Her response follows the premiere of documentary miniseres Surviving R Kelly, in which several women made sexual abuse allegations against the singer. Kelly has denied any wrongdoing.
“What I am hearing about the allegations against R Kelly is absolutely horrifying and indefensible. As a victim of sexual assault myself, I made both the song and video at a dark time in my life,” Gaga continued.
“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.”
Gaga and Kelly performed Do What U Want on SNL, and a music video for the track was recorded and eventually scrapped, but leaked footage still caused controversy.
“I think it’s clear how explicitly twisted my thinking was at the time,” Gaga said.
“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.
“I have demonstrated my stance on this issue and others many times throughout my career. I share this not to make excuses for myself, but to explain. Til it happens to you, you don’t know how it feels.”
Gaga also announced plans to remove the song in question from her back catalogue, and promised not to work with R Kelly again.
“I’m sorry, both for my poor judgement when I was young, and for not speaking out sooner,” she concluded.
Do What U Want first appeared on Gaga’s third studio album ARTPOP, during a time Gaga has previously claimed she was “betrayed” and “mismanaged” by those around her.
It’s unclear whether an alternate version of the song, which features vocals from Christina Aguilera instead of R Kelly, will also be taken down from iTunes and streaming services.