Taraji P. Henson is speaking out after critics suggested she supports embattled singer R. Kelly.
The “Empire” star faced backlash Tuesday for a now deleted Instagram story in which she compared protests against Kelly to those against disgraced former producer Harvey Weinstein.
The Instagram story showed Henson checking to see how many #MuteRKelly posts there were versus #MuteWeinstein.
The recent Lifetime docuseries “Surviving R. Kelly,” which chronicles allegations of abuse, predatory behavior and pedophilia against the singer, has brought Kelly back into the spotlight. He has repeatedly denied the allegations.
Writer Ernest Owens tweeted Henson’s posting before it was deleted.
“Somebody tap Taraji on the shoulder and tell her now isn’t the time to throw her career in the drain for defending a trash can named R. Kelly,” Owens wrote. “Weinstein didn’t need to be muted because he is currently facing charges faster than R. Kelly is right now!”
Weinstein has pleaded not guilty to five sex crime charges in New York, including two counts of rape.
The consensus on social media seemed to be that Henson was implying that Kelly was being treated unfairly.
Twitter user Jarrett Hill said: “Lord. Taraji is on InstaStory comparing R. Kelly to Harvey Weinstein, as if R. Kelly is being treated unfairly. What is life?”
Another Twitter user, Honest Brotha, said: “What people like little Ms.Taraji P Henson fail to realize is that no one really sided with Weinstein when the allegations came out. We started a mute movement for R. Kelly because so many people like her are defending him.”
Townsend Mo said: “This is why R Kelly has survived 20+ years. Black people never want to confront our own issues. We always want to sweeps ours under the rug and blame/talk about everybody else. #Taraji.”
Henson was also linked in criticism with her “What Men Want” co-star, singer Erykah Badu, who angered fans over the weekend when she reportedly said during a Chicago concert that Kelly deserved love.
Badu later tweeted about loving people unconditionally and “poor choices.”
“Erykah Badu reduced R.Kelly’s crimes to ‘poor choices,'” writer DeAsia Paige tweeted. “Taraji P. Henson made a false equivalency between him and Harvey Weinstein. The aunties are really exposing their internalized misogynoir, and I can’t deal. Black girls deserve better.”
Henson later clarified her remarks in a tweet.
“LET ME BE CLEAR R. KELLY IS GUILTY AND WRONG AND SHOULD BE MUTED PERIOD!!!!,” she tweeted.
CNN has reached out to reps for Henson and Badu for further comment.
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