R&B singer R Kelly has strongly denied the shocking accusations that he is “imprisoning women in an abusive sex cult”.
“Mr. Robert Kelly is both alarmed and disturbed by the recent revelations attributed to him. Mr. Kelly unequivocally denies such accusations and will work diligently and forcibly to pursue his accusers and clear his name,” a representative for the singer told TMZ.
A BuzzFeed report accuses the singer of brainwashing a string of women who got close to the 50-year-old in a bid to improve their musical career.
The exclusive article, written by music journalist Jim DeRogatis who has been investigating allegations about R. Kelly’s sexual-predator behaviour for years, quoted three unnamed sets of parents, who claimed that they have not seen or spoken with their daughter for months.
However, in the wake of R Kelly’s denial, another the women, 21-year-old Joycelyn Savage, has denied that she is being held hostage: “I’m in a happy place in my life. I’m not being brainwashed or anything like that,” she told TMZ before saying the situation had “definitely got out of hand”.
Three former members of Kelly’s inner circle – Cheryl Mack, Kitti Jones, and Asante McGee – provided details supporting the parents’ worst fears. They said six women live in properties rented by Kelly in Chicago and the Atlanta suburbs, and he controls every aspect of their lives: dictating what they eat, how they dress, when they bathe, when they sleep, and how they engage in sexual encounters that he records.
Mack, Jones, and McGee claim that women who live with Kelly, who he calls his “babies”, are required to call him “Daddy” and must ask his permission to leave the Chicago recording studio or their assigned rooms in the “guest house” Kelly rents near his own rented mansion in suburban Atlanta.
A black SUV with a burly driver behind the wheel is almost always parked outside both locations. Kelly confiscates the women’s cell phones, they said, so they cannot contact their friends and family; he gives them new phones that they are only allowed to use to contact him or others with his permission. The claims also suggest that Kelly films his sexual activities and shows the videos to men in his circle.
In 2008, R Kelly was acquitted of 14 charges of making child pornography after a videotape emerged allegedly showing him having sex with – and urinating on – a 14-year-old girl.
The investigation continues.