The US artist “unequivocally denies such accusations.”
R. Kelly has issued a statement in response to allegations that he is maintaining an abusive “cult” environment.
An investigative report by reporter Jim DeRogatis for BuzzFeed News published yesterday alleged that the R&B singer was keeping young women against their will and forcing them to obey strict rules, with physical and psychological consequences should they disobey.
According to parents of his alleged victims, as well as other associates of the singer, Kelly keeps several young women at houses in Atlanta and Chicago in an environment being likened to a “cult.” Kelly allegedly requires they these women call him “daddy”, films his sexual encounters with them and abuses them physically and verbally. He is also accused of taking their cell phones, and banning the women from making contact with the outside world without his permission.
As Pitchfork reports, Kelly’s laywer Linda Mensch has now released a new statement. “Mr. Robert Kelly is both alarmed and disturbed at the recent revelations attributed to him,” the statement reads. “Mr. Kelly unequivocally denies such allegations and will work diligently and forcibly to pursue his accusers and clear his name.”
Mensch responded to the initial claims yesterday (July 17) saying they were attempts to “defame a great artist.”
A spokesperson for BuzzFeed News said the publication “stand fully behind the story,” emphasizing that its investigation was based “on nine months of interviews and old-fashioned investigative reporting.” No charges have been filed against Kelly as yet.
In 2008, R. Kelly was acquitted of 14 charges of making child pornography after a videotape surfaced allegedly showing him having sex with a 14-year-old girl. DeRogatis received the tape from an anonymous source in 2001 and turned it over to police, launching the investigation.
Kelly has settled multiple lawsuits involving sexual misconduct allegations over the years. In a 2013 interview with the Village Voice, which also includes court documents, DeRogatis discusses the accusations in full.