Singer R.Kelly is facing serious controversy after a report published on Monday accusing him of having a cult. Other allegations include the singer’s sexual relationships with underage women.
This is not the first time he’s wrapped up in a controversy regarding sex, in fact, he has a history of alleged sexual abuse spanning over 15 years, Including child pornography and abusive behavior.
R. Kelly’s latest sex scandal
On Monday, Buzzfeed published an investigative report about R. Kelly in which multiple sources claim that the R&B singer was keeping six women in a “cult. ”
The report also claims that Kelly controls the lives of these women and “dictating what they eat, how they dress, when they bathe, when they sleep, and how they engage in sexual encounters that he records.”
The story was written by Jim DeRogatis, who has covered the allegations against R. Kelly for two decades, principally for the Chicago Sun Times.It claims he seduces them before taking control of their lives, forbidding contact with the outside world and taping their sexual encounters.
The allegations come from the parents of several women, who say their daughters have all but vanished. Buzzfeed also interviewed three former members of Kelly’s inner circle, giving details of the “cult like atmosphere.”
R Kelly’s lawyer, Linda Mensch, has also issued a strongly-worded denial of the accusations.”Mr Robert Kelly is both alarmed and disturbed at the recent revelations attributed to him,” the statement said. “Mr Kelly unequivocally denies such allegations and will work diligently and forcibly to pursue his accusers and clear his name.”
The other women in the BuzzFeed article who are said to be part of his entourage have not been identified, but their ages are given in the article as 31, 26, 25, 19 and 18.
One of the women, Joycelyn Savage, refused the allegations in a video via TMZ.
“I’m not being brainwashed or anything like that,” Savage said in the video.
“It’s just came to a point where it definitely has got out of hand, so, you know, I just want everybody to know — my parents and everybody in the world — that I’m totally fine. I’m happy where I’m at and everything is OK with me.”
Previous allegations of sex scandals
In 1994, R. Kelly, a rising star in R&B marries his protegée the singer Aaliyah.
At the time, R. Kelly is 27, and Aaliyah is just 15. Vibe later obtained a marriage certificate from the ceremony that falsely claimed Aaliyah was 18 at the time of the union. The marriage was annulled that same year.
Later in 1996, Kelly faced a suit from Tiffany Hawkins, who sued him for emotional distress and seeks $10 million in damages. Hawkins alleges that when she was 15 and the singer was 24. In 2001, Tracy Sampson sues R Kelly, accusing him of inducing her “into an indecent sexual relationship” when she was 17 years old.
In April and May 2002, Kelly faced two more court cases. Patrice Jones, a Chicago woman who claims he impregnated her when she was underage, and that she was forced to have an abortion.
A woman named Montina Woods also sued Kelly, alleging that he videotaped them having sex without her knowledge. The recording was allegedly circulated on an R Kelly “sex tape” sold by bootleggers under the title R Kelly Triple-X.
In 2002, Kelly is charged with 21 counts of making child pornography. All of the charges related to one girl, born in September 1984. Then in 2004, Kelly is charged with a further 12 counts of making child pornography in Florida, where he was arrested at his holiday home.
These charges came after police seized a camera during the arrest, which allegedly showed the star having sex with an underage girl. Kelly has denied the different charges every time he’s ask about them. Also, all of the charges were eventually dropped or the parts came into an agreement.
Two decades of sexual abuse allegations
DeRogatis spoke to Slate’s Josh Levin on Monday about his almost two decades of reporting on Kelly. The reporter explained how the Kelly story, though similar, differs from Bill Cosby’s history of rape and sexual-abuse allegations. Which went on for decades before Cosby’s career was effectively ended by a new outpouring of accusers in 2014.
“I think the biggest factor is one that the African-American scholar Mark Anthony Neal has said: these are all young African-American women, and I think if there had been a white girl it would have been different,” he said.
Like Cosby, however, Kelly’s career remained nearly untouched amid the numerous accusations hurled against him over the years—at least, until now.
But that no longer seems to be an option for the singer, who had previously managed to carry on a thriving career even in an era when sexual-assault accusations against famous men are taken more seriously than ever before.