'Surviving R. Kelly' producers open up about motives behind explosive documentary

PHOTO: R. Kelly performs on Feb. 21, 2018, in Detroit.PlayScott Legato/Getty Images
WATCH 'Surviving R. Kelly' doc sparks investigation into abuse allegations

Producers of an explosive documentary that includes claims of more than two decades of alleged sexual abuse by R. Kelly defended their work on Wednesday amid major push back from the legendary R&B singer and his legal team.

The executive producers of Lifetime's "Surviving R. Kelly," Jesse Daniels and Tamra Simmons, stood by their reporting in an interview with "Good Morning America," saying they support the alleged victims who spoke out in the six-part docuseries last week.

"Once we started to get in touch with some of these women and dig a little bit deeper into their stories, and learn about who they were, we learned they were connected to so many people," Daniels said. "So over the course of several months we started to earn their trust, we started to understand how deep their story really goes and then we started to meet others."

The Lifetime special, which features more than 50 interviews, spotlights claims by women who say Kelly is responsible for alleged sexual, physical and emotional abuse against them.

PHOTO: R. Kelly performs the national anthem before an NBA basketball game between the Brooklyn Nets and the Atlanta Hawks in New York, Nov. 17, 2015.Frank Franklin II/AP, FILE
R. Kelly performs the national anthem before an NBA basketball game between the Brooklyn Nets and the Atlanta Hawks in New York, Nov. 17, 2015.

Kelly was acquitted of child pornography charges in 2008 and he has long denied any claims of sexual misconduct.

But after reporting on the allegations for months, Simmons said she felt these women needed to be heard.

"I was just shocked at how many of them didn’t know each other but they had similar stories. And that’s when I realized there has to be some type of truth within their stories. They were too similar," Simmons said. "It was just devastating to hear their stories and it still bothers me even today even after the docuseries."

She added, "So how do you fabricate the similar stories, you don’t know each other, you don’t even realize your stories are similar until you meet one another and kind of compare."

The special, which aired from Thursday, Jan. 3 through Saturday, Jan. 5, included interviews with Kelly's family members and celebrities like Wendy Williams and fellow R&B singer John Legend. But its main goal was to give a voice to dozens of women who accused the hitmaker of long-term abuse, according to Simmons.

"These women and families were like a small community and they were holding each other together, seeing what they could do together," she said. "They were too similar in just how long the alleged abuse continued and how they told themselves it was OK and that sort of thing."

PHOTO: R. Kelly performs on Feb. 21, 2018, in Detroit.Scott Legato/Getty Images
R. Kelly performs on Feb. 21, 2018, in Detroit.

PHOTO: R. Kelly performs at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, Feb. 21, 2018.Scott Legato/Getty Images, FILE
R. Kelly performs at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, Feb. 21, 2018.

On Tuesday night, Kelly's Chicago attorney, Steve Greenberg, disputed the claims mentioned in the documentary, calling them "another round of stories" being used to "fill reality TV time," according to The Associated Press.

His dismissal came hours after Illinois Cook County District Attorney Kim Foxx revealed that she was "sickened" after watching the special. Foxx told ABC News that her office was in touch with two families seeking missing loved ones who they believe have been at Kelly's home in the Chicago area.

She encouraged other alleged victims to speak out.

"There is nothing that can be done to investigate these allegations without cooperation of victims and witnesses," Foxx said.

Foxx also confirmed that police had gone to Kelly's Chicago home to do a wellness check. Foxx said she has not been in touch with officials in Fulton County, Georgia, where one man accused Kelly of holding his daughter captive, according to a police report.

PHOTO: Drea Kelly, the ex-wife of R. Kelly, spoke to ABC News Nightline about her marriage to the so-called King of R&B.ABC News
Drea Kelly, the ex-wife of R. Kelly, spoke to ABC News' "Nightline" about her marriage to the so-called "King of R&B."

Kelly denied those claims and Greenberg, his attorney, said Foxx was simply looking for attention.

“It is a disappointment that because of the publicity [Foxx] feels the need to solicit random baseless accusations so people can have their TMZ moment,” Greenberg told ABC News in a statement late Tuesday.

He said the claims in the series are “nothing” and that “if Mr. Kelly had done anything wrong you would expect to hear facts, not the pitchfork posse. As for the 'investigations' (sic), they will find nothing because he has done nothing wrong.”

As for the documentary, the producers said they're proud of "Surviving R. Kelly" and all the women who came forward.

"I’m happy there’s a larger conversation being had here. The conversations being had are larger than R. Kelly - it’s helping people who have been abused to come forward and feel like they’re being supported," Daniels said. "Families are coming together to talk about this series and I think that’s what’s making it so powerful."

ABC News' Dom Proto contributed to this report.

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