The premiere of Lifetime’s upcoming docu-series Surviving R. Kelly was suddenly cut short in New York on Tuesday night due to shooting threats.
Theatre management at NeueHouse Madison Square evacuated the building after receiving a threatening phone call, a NYPD spokesperson told CNN. An unknown caller said that if the film continued to play, someone inside the theatre would start shooting, the spokesperson said.
“As a precaution, the network chose to evacuate the building. The safety and security of our panel, guests and staff is of paramount importance to Lifetime,” the network said.
The threats were non-credible, a spokesperson for NeueHouse Madison Square said: “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.”
Shortly after the event took place, Lifetime issued a statement, claiming the alleged threats were an “intimidation tactic.”
“There were several called in gun threats to NeueHouse. With the safety of guests in mind, we decided to evacuate the theater,” Lifetime explained.
Throughout Kelly’s career, a number of women including his ex-wife Andrea Kelly have accused him of domestic abuse.
He has also been accused of running a “sex cult”, allegedly imprisoning women, controlling their behaviour and forcing them to have sex with one another.
Kelly has firmly denied the allegations, including those made by his ex-wife.
“We deny the many dark descriptions put forth by instigators and liars who have their own agenda for seeking profit and fame,” a representative for Kelly previously told PEOPLE.
The 3-part docu-series is set to air in January.