The New York premiere of “Surviving R. Kelly” was evacuated on Tuesday night after the venue received two anonymous gun threats.
The scoop on the street is both calls came in from Chicago.
Present at the screening and conversation, held at NeueHouse Madison Square in the Gramercy area of Manhattan, were #MeToo founder Tarana Burke, along with seven R. Kelly accusers: his ex-wife, Drea Kelly, Kitti Jones, Asante Jones, Faith Rodgers, Lizzette Martinez, Lisa Van Allen and Jerhonda Pace. All of the women spoke out in the documentary, and were set to share their stories on a panel at the Tuesday night event.
The event began with a screening at 7:00 p.m., which was planned to be followed by an 8:30 p.m. panel discussion and then a reception. Roughly 15 minutes after the screening began, two anonymous, threatening calls were made into the venue with the caller stating that someone had a gun in the theater. The calls were routed to the NYPD who suggested evacuating the theater.
Lifetime issued a statement saying they evacuated the event as a precautionary measure.
At tonight’s premiere of Lifetime’s documentary series ‘Surviving R. Kelly’ at NeueHouse Madison Square, several anonymous threats were called in.
As a precaution, the network elected to evacuate the building. The safety and security of our panel, guests and staff is of paramount importance to Lifetime.
NeueHouse Madison Square also released a statement following the evacuation:
NeueHouse has always existed to celebrate creatives, entrepreneurs and activists with important and meaningful stories to share. The safety of our storytellers and of our members is always our first priority. Tonight was no different.
Despite non-credible threats called in during tonight’s screening, we followed appropriate safety protocols in collaboration with the NYPD and elected to postpone the event. We stand by the creative women bringing these heroic stories to light.
As you can imagine Tarana Burke was completely blown by what happened to prevent the screening and conversation from taking place!
She took to Twitter writing:
The worst of it isn’t the threat though bc it didn’t appear to be credible but the survivors who had to endure his harassment. #muteRkelly
— Tarana (@TaranaBurke) December 5, 2018
Dream Hampton, executive producer of “Surviving R. Kelly,” pointed out this is not the first time a gun threat was connected to the Pied Piper.
Alleged R. Kelly victims Asante McGee, Andrea Kelly, Lizzette Martinez, Kitti Jones, and Sparkle are featured in the 3-part “Surviving R. Kelly” series, set to premiere on Thursday, January 3, just 5 days before the singer’s 52nd birthday.