Taraji Henson denies defending R Kelly

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Taraji Henson denies defending R. Kelly in Weinstein post

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Taraji Henson posted an Instagram story comparing the hashtags #MuteRKelly and #MuteWeinstein

Taraji Henson says R. Kelly "should be muted" after a backlash against her post referencing Harvey Weinstein.

The Hidden Figures actor had compared the thousands of negative posts on the hashtag #MuteRKelly with the few on #MuteWeinstein on Instagram.

People accused her of defending Kelly, and said that a campaign against Mr Weinstein wouldn't use the word "mute" because he's not a musician.

Ms Henson has now tweeted that she believes "R. Kelly is guilty" of abuse.

Kelly, whose full name is Robert Sylvester Kelly, has been accused of decades of sexual and emotional abuse against women.

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The allegations were the subject of a documentary series, Surviving R. Kelly, which came out earlier this month. The singer denies the claims.

The #MuteRKelly campaign calls on people to boycott Kelly's music – both recordings and performances.

Although the hashtag #MuteWeinstein isn't commonly used, the allegations against Harvey Weinstein sparked a much wider online movement – #MeToo.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption R. Kelly has been accused of decades of abuse

In her now-deleted Instagram story, Ms Henson wrote that she was "checking on these #mute for a friend", before filming herself searching for the hashtag #MuteRKelly and coming up with more than 33,000 results.

Then, in another video, she searched for #MuteWeinstein – which only had one post.

In the final slide she wrote "hmmmmm", with a thinking face emoji.

Skip Twitter post by @NOPussBoys_

I love me some Taraji but GIIIIIIRRRRRLLLLLLAAAAAAAA. Make it make sense. pic.twitter.com/qBtYuwpio0

— sie (@NOPussBoys_) January 22, 2019

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End of Twitter post by @NOPussBoys_

The post sparked a huge online backlash, with some followers likening Ms Henson to singer Erykah Badu – who recently took a moment out of a gig to say a prayer and send "unconditional love" to Kelly.

Some also said they would boycott the film What Men Want, which stars both Ms Henson and Ms Badu.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The campaign to #MuteRKelly calls for listeners to boycott his music

Dream Hampton, the documentary filmmaker behind Surviving R. Kelly, also addressed the actor in a tweet.

"You don't really care about Weinstein," she wrote. "You just want silence around R. Kelly."

Skip Twitter post by @dreamhampton

Plus, you don't really care about Weinstein, you just want silence around R. Kelly. Taraji, like me, is from the generation whose job it was to deal with R. Kelly 20 years ago. We didn't and countless girls were harmed because of our inaction. So I made #SurvivingRKellly

— dream hampton (@dreamhampton) January 22, 2019

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End of Twitter post by @dreamhampton

Ms Hampton also tweeted: "Plus Weinstein is on trial. For rape."

Responding to the criticism, Ms Henson deleted her Instagram story and tweeted a clarification.

Skip Twitter post by @TherealTaraji

LET ME BE CLEAR R. KELLY IS GUILTY AND WRONG AND SHOULD BE MUTED PERIOD!!!!! ???

— Taraji P. Henson (@TherealTaraji) January 22, 2019

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End of Twitter post by @TherealTaraji

The #MuteRKelly campaign to limit the singer's airplay was sparked after the allegations against him resurfaced last year – including in a BBC Three documentary.

In July 2018, Kelly responded with a 19-minute song called I Admit, in which he admitted to infidelity but denied claims of paedophilia and rape.

After Ms Hampton's lengthy documentary was released earlier this month, it was announced that R. Kelly and the Sony-owned record label RCA had ended their working relationship.

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