Filmmaker dream hampton has addressed one of the biggest criticisms regarding her docuseries Surviving R. Kelly—her inclusion of The Breakfast Club host Charlamagne Tha God.
Born Lenard McKelvey (as Mo’Nique once reminded us), the radio host condemned R. Kelly’s behavior and sexual assault in the docuseries. However, social media lit up with concern and disappointment over his inclusion in the docuseries because of McKelvey’s own past with alleged sexual assault, in addition to his former praise of R. Kelly’s sexual abuse tape with a 14-year-old girl that was the basis of the criminal child pornography charges Kelly beat in 2008.”
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“R Kelly had the best celebrity sex tape of all time,” Charlamagne tweeted in 2010, along with a series of other deplorable tweets praising or making light of R. Kelly’s predation of young girls.
“The most important criticism I’ve gotten is having Charlamagne, who is a radio personality in New York City, on to talk about R. Kelly when he himself was accused about 10, 15 years ago of sexual assault. So, that criticism is one that I have to look at,” said hampton to WYNC Studios’ Tanzina Vega on the radio show The Takeaway.
“We definitely limited the amount of time that he got,” she said regarding Charlamagne’s inclusion in the documentary. “He was so clear and so forceful in his condemnation of R. Kelly. If I could have interviewed him after the story broke about his sexual assault allegations in his own past, I would have asked him to reckon with his own past on camera. But I wish that I had not included him in this documentary.”
Recently, McKelvey has addressed Surviving R. Kelly on The Breakfast Club, particularly his participation in the documentary despite his own sketchy sexual assault past.
“My motto is simple: Listen to all women, all women deserve to be heard. But, believe all proof, simple. And when it comes to R. Kelly, it’s a lot of proof. And when it comes to any rape, sexual assault allegation, why wouldn’t I speak out? Just because I’m not guilty in my situation doesn’t mean all women are lying. That’s not accurate,” he said.
“I’m a father of three Black girls, so anything I can do to make the world a better place for them, and for young girls like them, I’m going to do,” he said. “And the number one change starts with myself. So the same way I hold myself accountable for how we treat our women, I’m going to continue to hold other men accountable too. I have zero problems with speaking out against R. Kelly.”
McKelvey was accused of raping then-15-year-old Jessica Reid at a party in South Carolina in 2001, according to The Root. He submitted semen and blood samples for testing, and a lab report showed that his DNA didn’t match the samples from Reid’s sexual assault forensic exam. While the DNA didn’t prove to be a match, experts cited in a 2018 Complex article state that a lack of DNA match doesn’t necessarily mean that a crime hadn’t occurred.
At the time of the news around his sexual assault accusations resurfacing in 2018, Charlemagne repeated his belief in his innocence, but also expressed remorse. “…The past few weeks have really made me regret helping to create an environment that allowed something like this to take place…I am praying for healing for the victim.”
However, McKelvey himself has talked about his own problematic sexual behavior, such as admitting on a 2015 Brilliant Idiots podcast episode that he gave a woman Spanish Fly in the 1990s and had sex with her while she was “wasted” and not “coherent.”
In 2018, The Starr Report posted a recording of McKelvey saying he raped his wife when they were dating. According to McKelvey, the incident happened when she was “sloppy drunk and passed out,” but when he called his wife on The Breakfast Club to ask her again about the incident, his wife said she wasn’t raped and that she was “very coherent” when they were having sex.
hampton also addressed the sexual harassment accusations against journalist Toure, who appeared in the documentary.
No, I didn’t know Toure sexually harassed someone he worked with, I’m not sure how I could have known. He was included because he did the most famous interview with R. Kelly ever. Like Charlamagne, I wish he’d told me.
— dream hampton (@dreamhampton) January 11, 2019