French Montana Clarifies His Comments After Appearing to Support R. Kelly
Amid the resurfacing of abuse allegations against Kelly after the airing of the Lifetime docuseries Surviving R. Kelly, Montana appeared to defend the singer to TMZ on Saturday, before adding an addendum on Twitter.
“Let me be clear. My heart is with the victims,” the 34-year-old rapper wrote. “I never thought the people I looked up to as a kid, who sang and danced and gave me hope to become a superstar would become drug addicts, child molestors [sic] and rapists. I am hoping we as a culture create better leaders. We need them.”
On Saturday night, TMZ reported that Montana told the outlet, “All the greats went down like that,” adding, “Let somebody enjoy their legacy. Whatever happened, happened, man.” TMZ said that Montana also invoked Michael Jackson, who has also been accused of sexual abuse, in his statement.
When asked if people should still listen to Kelly’s music, Montana responded, “They don’t let nobody have their legendary moments.”
Surviving R. Kelly — which aired on Lifetime from Jan. 3 through Jan. 5 — features wide-ranging interviews with Kelly’s family members, former friends and colleagues, but most notably, women who claim that for decades the hit-making singer and producer used his power and influence to sexually and physically abuse them and others.
R. Kelly’s lawyer has denied the allegations. In an interview with the Associated Press on Friday, Chicago-based attorney Steve Greenberg called the documentary “disgusting” and claimed that producers told “disgruntled” women incriminating things to say about Kelly off camera in an effort to incriminate the Grammy winner.
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Producers of the film, however, denied these allegations. “We are enormously proud of the series. The powerful stories from the women in the documentary speak for themselves,” they previously said in a statement to PEOPLE. “Their honesty and candor has resonated with millions of viewers.”
Reps for Montana did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.
If you or someone you know think they are being abused, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE) or 1-800-787-3224 (TTY) now for anonymous, confidential help, available 24/7.