R Kelly 'alarmed and disturbed' at allegations he is holding young women in 'abusive cult'

R&B superstar 'unequivocally denies' the allegations launched against him

Maya Oppenheim
Tuesday 18 July 2017 10:30
According to the accusations, Kelly is housing at least six women at his rented properties in Atlanta and Chicago
According to the accusations, Kelly is housing at least six women at his rented properties in Atlanta and Chicago

R Kelly has vehemently denied allegations he is holding young women against their will in an “abusive cult” and controlling their lives via physical and verbal abuse.

Kelly’s lawyer said the R&B superstar is “both alarmed and disturbed” by the allegations and will work “diligently and forcibly to pursue his accusers" ensure his name is cleared.

A Buzzfeed report accuses the musician of brainwashing women who got close with him in order to further their musical careers. A number of unnamed sets of parents have spoken out about the claims and three ex-members of the singer’s entourage came forward to support the parents’ claims of his controlling behaviour.

According to the accusations, Kelly is housing at least six women at his rented properties in Atlanta and Chicago where he "dictates what they eat, how they dress, when they bathe, when they sleep and how they engage in sexual encounters."

Both the parents and former crew members claim Kelly orders the women to call him "daddy", films their sexual encounters, and punishes them verbally and physically when they break his "rules".

One former member of his entourage is quoted as telling the publication: "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."

Despite the fact some of the parents reported their concerns to the police the women said they were not being held against their will.

Kelly, who has sold nearly 60 million albums during his 25-year career, has now “unequivocally denied” any wrongdoing.

"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”.

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Despite having faced previous accusations of sexual misconduct Kelly was never found guilty. Kelly was twice arrested a decade ago over claims he was involved in sexual activity with an underage girl, when no charges were brought. In 2008, he was acquitted on 14 charges of making child pornography after a videotape emerged allegedly showing him having sex with a 14-year-old girl.

The new report, which quoted three sets of parents, said they had not seen or talked with their daughters for months, and that the women, who are all over the age of consent, had their routines controlled by the Chicago-born singer.

But on Monday evening, one of the women, Joycelyn Savage, told celebrity site TMZ she was not in a cult and living in Kelly's home on her own volition.

"I am in a happy place in my life and I'm not being brainwashed. I am totally fine and happy where I'm at," Savage said in a video posted hours after the allegations emerged.

She added the issue had "definitely got out of hand".

BuzzFeed has said it is standing by its report.

Read the full Buzzfeed report here.

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