The final fifteen shows of Jay-Z and R. Kelly’s joint Best of Both Worlds tour have been canceled. The tour will instead conclude with a performance Monday night at New York’s Madison Square Garden, featuring Jay-Z and surprise guest stars.
“On Friday, October 29th, at a sold-out Madison Square Garden Show, Mr. Kelly made a statement from the stage claiming members of the audience were waving guns,” reads a statement issued by Jay-Z’s representatives Monday. “Jay-Z sees that statement as the equivalent of screaming ‘fire’ in a crowded theater and was unable to continue with someone whose actions could potentially create a dangerous situation. Later that evening, on New York radio station Hot 97, R. Kelly admitted that he didn’t actually see any guns. Jay will not allow his fans and touring personnel to be subjected to an unsafe environment created by his co-headliner.”
The release also blames Kelly’s “lack of professionalism and unpredictable behavior” for the abrupt close of the tour in support of their two collaborative albums Best of Both Worlds (2002) and the just-released Unfinished Business.
Claiming he saw guns in the audience, Kelly stopped his show while security looked for weapons. After he was assured there were no weapons in the crowd, Kelly was returning to the stage when he and two bodyguards were attacked by a member of Jay-Z’s entourage, according to Kelly’s publicist. Kelly was treated and released for his injuries at St. Vincent’s Hospital.
New York city police are investigating Friday’s incident and Kelly is mulling legal action. Kelly released a statement over the weekend saying he was “ready, willing and able” to continue touring and criticizing Jay-Z and the promoter for barring him from the tour. “The fans deserve better than this,” Kelly said. “I’d like the show to go on. It’s really disappointing that Jay-Z and the promoter don’t.”
The statement from Jay-Z’s representatives says Kelly’s position “lacks any credibility.” “In Chicago and Baltimore, R. Kelly was not ‘ready,'” the statement continues. “In Cincinnati, Milwaukee and Hartford, R. Kelly was not ‘willing.’ In St. Louis and New York, R. Kelly was not ‘able.'”