Actress Taraji P. Henson is facing backlash after comparing the #MuteRKelly movement Harvey Weinstein.
The ‘Empire’ actress started a fire on Tuesday after taking to her Instagram Story and questioning why Weinstein was not receiving the same “#Mute” treatment as R. Kelly, who has been accused of sexually abusing women throughout his career. In the series of clips, she searches “#MuteRKelly” and sees a slew of posts. She then tries #MuteWeinsten only to find one post, and #MuteHarveyWeinstein only has 29 posts.
Taraji’s followers were quick to explain the difference between the two hashtags, while some slammed her for taking it upon herself to defend Kelly.
“Can someone tell Taraji that the #MuteRKelly hashtag is a double entendre? It was used for R. Kelly because he’s a musician. The lack of its use for Harvey Weinstein isn’t an accurate reflection of… anything really,” a user wrote. “Harvey Weinstein has been booked, charged, etc. the purpose of #MuteRKelly is to silence his music. For him to be held accountable for his actions. I really need taraji to know better. Unbelievable,” says another.
“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,” another stated. “Taraji really tried to compare mute R. Kelly hashtags to Mute Harvey Weinstein! News flash, Taraji, Harvey is about to go to trial. There are people willing to testify against him. His businesses and career are DONE! R. Kelly is still out here functioning!” another follower tweeted.
The #MuteRKelly hashtag has been popular in recent months, with many people promoting the stop of streaming of Kelly’s music amid allegations of his sexual abuse of numerous women.
Surviving R. Kelly producer, Dream Hampton, also chimed in with a response to Henson. “No idea why Taraji Henson wouldn’t know that there are not one, but two projects abt Harvey Weinstein. But this is an oft-invoked deflection. While I care abt the Hollywood stars Weinstein abused, I care more abt Asante, Kitty, Jerhona, Lisette, Azriel & Joy & others, even more,” she began. “Plus Weinstein is on trial. For rape.”
“Plus, you don’t really care about Weinstein, you just want silence around R. Kelly,” she continued. “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.”
After the situation was explained to Taraji, she took to Instagram again to clarify her stance on the controversial musician, writing: “LET ME BE CLEAR R. KELLY IS GUILTY AND WRONG AND SHOULD BE MUTED PERIOD!!!!!”
Taraji has since deleted the controversial posts on her Instagram.
As for Weinstein, while he has not been “muted,” he was fired from his company. The #MeToo movement was created, as was Time’s Up, and he ended up being arrested, and charged with rape. He has pleaded not guilty to five counts of felony sexual assault and is free on $1 million bail. A pre-trial conference is set to take place on March 7th, ahead of his trial in May.