Keke Palmer responds to "sexual intimidation" by Trey Songz with empowering Instagram post

Source: Getty Images
Source: Getty Images

Keke Palmer has accused Trey Songz of featuring her in a music video without her consent after using "sexual intimidation" to persuade her to participate in the filming. 

Songz collaborated with Fabolous to remix the Travis Scott and Young Thug song "Pick Up the Phone," and the video was released on YouTube. It shows Palmer taking selfies on her phone while sitting on a couch. She is also mentioned in the lyrics, as MIKExANGEL raps, "I palm her pussy like KeKe/ Like KeKe, Like Keke."

Palmer, who stars on the Fox series Scream Queens, has appeared in the films Akeelah and the Bee, Madea's Family Reunion and Joyful Noise, among others, as well as the TV show True Jackson: VP. In 2014, she became the first African-American woman to play Cinderella on the Broadway stage. 

Palmer, who is no stranger to sharing her thoughts on social media, wrote a lengthy post on Instagram, sharing her reaction to the video: 


This is preposterous. How am I in this video Trey? After you found me in a closet HIDING because I was so afraid of anymore conflict. Literally my last option was to hide because you all would not listen when I said I did not want to be in the video the FIRST time. Just cause you give someone food and alcohol and throw in a little sexual intimidation doesn't mean they will buckle. Yet, you still disrespected me as a young women, whom you've known since she was TWELVE. YOU STILL defied my wishes and in turn showed your lack of respect for a brand that took me 14 years to build and put me in the video against my wishes. Come on bruh, I clearly said no and you said, "OK," yet I was being secretly filmed when you told me, "Let me just show you the idea"?? Wow. This is what I'm referring to in my previous post, this is the sexism and misogyny I refer to because if I was a dude, he wouldn't have even tried me like this. Let this be a lesson to all, I'm not for the bullshit. I'm serious about my business and you will not use my likeness without MY permission. When you in front of a boss you treat them like one, like I treat YOU. NO MEANS NO!!!!!!! People have to listen to women and stop questioning them and their intelligence. Speak up, 'cause when you look someone in the face and they say, "I understand. You don't have to feel pressured to do the video" and they STILL put you in it, it is a violation. It would be great to be able to handle these things privately but why when they aren't respected?

Songz responded, much more briefly, on social media.



Along with voicing her anger and disappointment, Palmer's statement touches upon sexism and misogyny in the music industry, recently highlighted in the lawsuit filed against producer Lukasz "Dr. Luke" Gottwald by Kesha

Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift and Björk are among the female artists who have shared their frustration with the male-driven industry. In June, Laura Mvula said people are living in the "Donald Trump time of music," calling the industry "racist" and "sexist." 

Following Palmer's post, Songz released his own statement on Instagram:

"So sorry for those that believe everything without knowing anything. However, I cannot devote my life to responding to, or clearing up every side of every story you hear about me, when would I actually live? I know my character, I know my truth, I know my heart. God does too. Words to anyone who's being tested right now... I feel you, it'll pass, I've been in a million storms... they all pass. Don't let the noisy thoughts of others drown your inner voice, or inner peace for that matter."

The video to "Pick Up the Phone" is no longer available on YouTube. 

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Carey Purcell

Carey is an arts writer based in New York who focuses on diversity and gender parity in her work. She has been published in Vice, Playbill, Politico, The Nation, The Village Voice, Salon, Elle and Glamour, among others. She can be reached at Carey@mic.com. Twitter: @CareyPurcell

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