On Monday (July 17), an explosive Buzzfeed News report detailed the accusations against R. Kelly by the families of two of the women the singer has allegedly “brainwashed” into sexual servitude, as well as corroborating statements by three women who were formerly in Kelly’s inner circle. According to the accusations, Kelly is housing at least six women at his properties in Chicago and Atlanta, where the singer “dictates what they eat, how they dress, when they bathe, when they sleep and how they engage in sexual encounters.” “You have to ask for food. You have to ask to go use the bathroom … [Kelly] is a master at mind control,” former entourage member says of singer.
Responding to it all, Kelly has denied the “cult” allegations that surfaced Monday accusing the singer of controlling the lives of six women through manipulation and physical and verbal abuse. “Mr. Robert Kelly is both alarmed and disturbed by the recent revelations attributed to him,” Kelly’s lawyer Linda Mensch said in a statement. “Mr. Kelly unequivocally denies such accusations and will work diligently and forcibly to pursue his accusers and clear his name.”
Kelly also allegedly videotapes his sexual encounters with the women – many of them young (though of legal age) singers who are lured to Kelly under the guise of professional relationship – which the singer then shows to his male friends. The singer also reportedly issues the women new cellphones and forbids them from contacting their families.
In the case of two of the families, the women themselves rebuffed multiple “welfare checks” by authorities. TMZ confirmed that the welfare checks did occur, and that the woman in one of the cases told police she was fine and that “she did not want to be bothered with her parents because her father was threatening people.”
On Monday afternoon, after the report was published, the family of one of Kelly’s alleged victims held a press conference where they accused the singer of holding their 21-year-old daughter against her will. “Stockholm syndrome, that’s what my daughter has right now,” the father of the girl said. Her mother added, “My daughter is severely brainwashed; she’s brainwashed to the point where she says anything he asks her to say. She’s not the same [person] that we knew.” The family also pleaded for Kelly to “release her and let her go on with her life.”
But on Monday evening, the daughter, Joycelyn Savage, spoke to TMZ and said she was living in Kelly’s home on her own volition. “I am in a happy place in my life and I’m not being brainwashed,” Savage said. “I am totally fine and happy where I’m at.”
In a statement to Buzzfeed News prior to the report’s publication, Mensch told the site, “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. 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.”