After decades of allegations of sexual abuse and fixation on underage girls, these latest revelations may finally bring R Kelly to justice
18 Julio 2017 12:23
R. Kelly has enjoyed an enviable career. 40 million records sold worldwide. Hits like ‘Ignition’ and ‘I Believe I Can Fly’ still played at nostalgic club nights. Remaining bankable enough to sell out a world music tour, coming this year.
But his personal life and alleged predation with underage girls is a scary business. An explosive Buzzfeed report, written by Jim DeRogatis, who has covered the RnB star for over 20 years, has the potential to finally bring his gold-plated world crashing down around him. The article relays the claims of two sets of parents who say the musician is subjugating their daughters, 17 and 19 at the time of meeting Kelly, and other women, in a situation described as a ‘cult’. DeRogatis quotes the parents as saying the women are being held against their will in Kelly’s Atlanta and Chicago homes, and are being ‘brainwashed’ into extremely controlling sexual relationships with him.
Some of the most shocking accusations are that the women are made to cut off all communication with their families, their phones have been replaced with devices to solely contact Kelly, they must seek permission to leave the house, all females must refer to the superstar as ‘daddy’, and their sexual encounters are filmed. The report alleges that if any of the women break Kelly’s rules (such as flirting with other men), they are subjected to verbal and physical abuse.
Three of Kelly’s former lovers and employees have confirmed that he puts up a number of women in his residences, where they are forced to cut ties with the outside world and are given financial support in return for their complete obedience. Those involved were given the impression that Kelly would help them with their music career by recording demos and performing with him. Six women are rumoured to be staying with Kelly, who allegedly ‘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.’
Kelly and his legal team have since ‘unequivocally’ denied the claims made in DeRogatis’s Buzzfeed report. ‘Mr. Robert Kelly is both alarmed and disturbed by the recent revelations attributed to him,’ Kelly's lawyer, Linda Mensch, told the publication in a statement. ‘Mr. Kelly unequivocally denies such accusations and will work diligently and forcibly to pursue his accusers and clear his name.’ Buzzfeed stands by its reporting. Although the legal implications of these latest revelations remain unclear, because the line of consent could be in place - dominant-submissive relationships aren’t against the law - but accusations of ‘brainwashing’ and abuse could see Kelly brought to justice, or at least tarnish his already problematic reputation.
This certainly isn’t the first time allegations of sexual abuse and mistreatment have been brought against him, it just might be the first time the music industry actually takes a stand. Let’s not forget that Kelly stood trial for 14 counts of allegedly making child pornography, of which he was later acquitted, he married late RnB singer Aaliyah when she was just 15 years old, and he has settled numerous lawsuits out of court after underage girls accused him of rape. So, why is he still one of the most successful musicians in the business? It’s clear that money wins over morals when it comes to, well, everything, and the case of Kelly is no different.
Despite near-constant speculation about his preoccupation with teenage girls, the singer is still booked as a headliner at festivals and recently collaborated with Lady Gaga on the track, ‘Do What U Want’. The music industry has continued to protect and endorse Kelly for the sake of hard cash. And while this latest shitstorm might well be swept under the rug once again, there is the potential to dethrone an obviously predatory man who abuses his power. There's no smoke without fire.