A New York City screening of the Lifetime docuseries Surviving R. Kelly was evacuated Tuesday night after a bomb threat.
A “threatening phone call” was received at the venue, NeueHouse Madison Square. The call said if the screening continued, someone in the theater would begin shooting.
Because of this Lifetime, chose to evacuate the building. “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,” a spokesperson told CNN.
Activist April Reign, the creator of #OscarsSoWhite, was at the screening, which was set to feature a discussion afterward from #MeToo founder Tarana Burke. “Over 50 people had assembled at Neuehouse for an invite-only screening of Surviving R. Kelly, a docuseries that will premiere on Lifetime in January,” she told Shadow and Act. “We were watching the screening when suddenly it stopped, and the lights came up. Joshua DuBois of Values Partnerships explained that we needed to exit the building immediately. I saw several police officers near the entrance to the building as we left. Once safely outside, Joshua explained that a threat had been called in and, in an abundance of caution, the screening would not continue on this night. Because this was a private event, I wonder how someone who wanted to intimidate viewers, some of whom are survivors and parents of survivors of R. Kelly, knew the screening was taking place. But it is of no consequence. The stories of the survivors will be heard, and we stand in support of them.”
She continued, “I also want to credit DuBois and Brie Miranda Bryant, executive producer of the Surviving R. Kelly docuseries, for the professional way they handled this tense situation. It is also my understanding that there were counselors available who were able to consult with the survivors.”
Reign also believed that what happened was no coincidence: “There is no question in my mind that this was a deliberate attempt to intimidate R. Kelly survivors and their supporters,” she said.
The docuseries will air in January on Lifetime.