Buzzfeed News just did an in depth exposé on the singer, revealing numerous incidences of young women of consenting age becoming involved with him for professional reasons only to leave their homes, cutting off all contact with their families and living with him and a group of women in a cult-like environment where they carry on sexual relationships under a strict set of rules. Because the woman are all over the age of consent and claim that they are there of their own volition there hasn’t been anything police can do to return them to their families.
It’s a long read but here are some of the vital details.
Buzzfeed conducted interviews with Cheryl Mack, Kitti Jones, and Asante McGee, all former members of Kelly’s entourage. They also spoke with the families of two women desperate to get their daughters home.
Mack, Jones, and McGee say 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. According to Mack and Jones, if the women break any of Kelly’s “rules,” he punishes them physically and verbally.
The women in Kelly’s entourage initially think “This is R. Kelly, I’m going to live a lavish lifestyle,” said Mack, who worked as Kelly’s personal assistant for a year and a half starting in 2013 and has remained in touch with some members of his inner circle. “No. You have to ask for food. You have to ask to go use the bathroom. … [Kelly] is a master at mind control. … He is a puppet master.”
According to Mack, Jones, and McGee, the women living in Kelly’s Duluth, Georgia, “guest house” or his Chicago recording studio last summer included:
A 31-year-old “den mother” who “trained” newcomers on how Kelly liked to be pleasured sexually. She had been best friends since high school with the girl in the videotape for which Kelly was tried in 2008. She recently parted ways with Kelly, these sources say.A 25-year-old woman who also has been part of Kelly’s scene for seven years.A recent arrival, a 19-year-old model who has been photographed in public with Kelly and named on music gossip websites — a rarity among the women in his circle.An Atlanta songwriter who began her relationship with Kelly around 2009, when she was 19. (She is now 26.)And an 18-year-old singer from Polk County, Florida. Mack said the Florida singer is Kelly’s “favorite — his number one girl.”
Mack and Jones both told the outlet that if any of Kelly’s rules are broken the singer punishes the women physically and verbally. Jones says Kelly once held her against a tree and slapped her for being too friendly with a male cashier at a Subway shop.
Mack, Jones and McGee also claim that Kelly refers to the women as his “babies” and requires them to call him “daddy.” The women have to ask permission to leave his recording studio in Chicago or their assigned rooms in the “guest house” Kelly rents in suburban Atlanta. Kelly keeps a black SUV with a driver parked outside both locations at almost all times. He also allegedly confiscates the women’s cell phones so they can’t contact friends and family, replacing them with new phones that they are only allowed to use to contact him or others with his permission. McGee and Jones also say Kelly films his sexual activities and shows the videos to men in his circle.
Buzzfeed also spoke with Chicago attorney Susan E. Loggans, who declined to say how many settlements she has negotiated with Kelly before lawsuits were ever filed, but she said they were “numerous,” and recently included one for a 17-year-old aspiring singer from Chicago’s West Side who is said to have been part of Kelly’s inner circle. Loggans gave no other details, citing attorney-client privilege and the terms of the settlement.
A publicist from Kelly’s label RCA declined to comment but his lawyer had this to say via email:
“We can only wonder why folks would persist in defaming a great artist who loves his fans, works 24/7, and takes care of all of the people in his life,” Linda Mensch, a civil rights lawyer who represents Kelly wrote. “He works hard to become the best person and artist he can be. It is interesting that stories and tales debunked many years ago turn up when his goal is to stop the violence; put down the guns; and embrace peace and love. I suppose that is the price of fame. Like all of us, Mr. Kelly deserves a personal life. Please respect that.”
Does R. Kelly deserve a personal life if it means he’s emotionally and physically abusing women and keeping them away from their families? One of the women’s mother’s told Buzzfeed her family has experienced births and deaths while her daughter has been living with Kelly and his entourage. Should we believe this woman is really free to do as she wants?