Lady Gaga’s song with R. Kelly, “Do What U Want” drew criticism for its sexual subject matter and a raunchy Saturday Night Live performance when it was released in late 2013, but she stood by the collaboration. More that five years later, Gaga announced in a Twitter statement that she will be pulling the song “from iTunes and other streaming platforms.” She has made this decision after fans urged her to speak out about her past work with the singer.
This comes in the wake of Surviving R. Kelly, the Lifetime docuseries that caused listeners to re-evaluate accusations against the singer that have lingered for decades. Kelly has denied the allegations discussed in the documentary.
In her statement, Gaga, now 32, said she “stand[s] behind these women 1,000 percent,” and also addressed her own experience with sexual assault: “As a victim of sexual assault myself, I made both the song and video at a dark time in my life, 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,” she said about her decision to make the song. She added that if she could “go back and have a talk with [her] younger self,” she would “tell her to go through the therapy [she’s gone through] since then.”
I stand by anyone who has ever been the victim of sexual assault: pic.twitter.com/67sz4WpV3i
— Lady Gaga (@ladygaga) January 10, 2019
In more recent years, Gaga has used her music to process her story. At the 2016 Oscars, she performed “Til It Happens to You,” from the 2015 documentary The Hunting Ground.
In 2014, Gaga told Howard Stern that she was raped by an older man when she was a “very naïve” teenager. “I’ll be damned if somebody’s gonna say that every creatively intelligent thing I ever did is all boiled down to one dickhead that did that to me,” she said then.
Gaga does not appear in Surviving R. Kelly, the Lifetime series; she reportedly declined an offer to appear. The documentary does feature John Legend, Chance the Rapper, and Charlamagne Tha God.