Pop star R. Kelly has been accused of “brainwashing” his fans by BuzzFeed News. Kelly has survived allegations of sexual impropriety in the past, but now parents of five young women have come forward to accuse him of undue influence, saying that their daughters are virtually held captive.
One family hired private detectives and made reports to the police and the FBI, only to be told that their teenage daughter is a free agent who has “chosen” to live with Kelly.
Three former associates of R. Kelly have spoken out, saying that he keeps six young women in properties in Chicago and Atlanta. They follow strict rules laid down by the singer: “dictating what they eat, how they dress, when they bathe, when they sleep, and how they engage in sexual encounters that he records.” It is alleged that these recordings are later played to Kelly’s friends.
R. Kelly is best known for I Believe I Can Fly and the hip-hop opera Trapped in the Closet. His career has spanned 25 years and he has sold 60 million records.
Former staffers say that girls in Kelly’s entourage are forbidden phones or social media accounts. They are not allowed to take photographs of the singer, either.
It is also alleged that one of R. Kelly’s high school girlfriends acts as a “den mother”, teaching newcomers his sexual preferences. When they are allowed out in public, the girls wear jogging suits, so that they will not be attractive to other men.
In 2008, R. Kelly was acquitted on charges of making child pornography. A recording of a 14-year-old girl was leaked to a journalist, who handed it over to the police. The case took over six and a half years to come to trial. A number of claims have been settled by R. Kelly with out of court settlements. Evidence from these claims was not allowed in court, nor any mention of his 1994 marriage to his 15-year-old protégé Aailiyah, to whom he dedicated his album Age Ain’t Nothing but a Number.
BuzzFeed News say that R. Kelly has refused to comment on their story. If true, these allegations show a toxic cult developing around a celebrity. In the UK, we have seen many celebrities and authority figures – from MP Cyril Smith to TV personality Jimmy Savile – accused of sex crimes. In most cases, claims were made against these celebrities, but police failed to properly investigate. We hope that R. Kelly will be given the full scrutiny of the law and his guilt or innocence proven.
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