Kanye West appeared to defend R. Kelly—and Kim Kardashian tried to clarify his comments (yet again)
The recently aired Lifetime docuseries Surviving R. Kelly revealed new details of Kelly’s alleged sexual abuse, and in the wake of the show, many have stepped up to condemn him. But some have stood by the R&B singer, and recently, Kanye West came under fire when he appeared to condone listening to Kelly’s music—although his wife, Kim Kardashian, said his remarks were taken out of context.
According to Complex, during a Sunday service performance on January 13th, Kanye referred to people using “full documentaries” to condemn artists for their behavior. He specifically alluded to the upcoming documentary Leaving Neverland, which focuses on sexual abuse allegations against Michael Jackson. According to TMZ, he did not mention Kelly by name, but some interpreted his comments as a defense of the singer.
"They want art from the artist. But, anytime they do anything erratic, they just gonna pull up the full documentaries on him," Kanye said, per TMZ. "Then they gonna come with the Michael [Jackson] documentary...We can all enjoy all their music all we want. I thought I wasn't going to go there today. If we're gonna tear down artists, let's go ahead and take [Leonardo] da Vinci out the Louvre while we're at it. Let's take down all the art."
On January 14th, Kim Kardashian tweeted a clarification of her husband’s comments, writing that Kanye’s words “were in context to his own experiences, not defending anyone else.”
"I want to make it very clear, he is not condoning anyone’s actions or unacceptable disgusting behavior," she added. "My husband’s words are being taken out of context due to timing."
People notes that Kelly and Kanye have collaborated in the past, working together on the 2012 song “To The World.” Whether Kanye was talking about Kelly or not, we need to continue to call out abusers (and those who support them) and give voice to survivors. Hopefully, works like Surviving R. Kelly will help make that happen.