As R&B legend, R. Kelly tours around the US, parents of young girls have spoken out to police claiming that R. Kelly is running an abusive "cult" that's tearing their families apart. Three former members of Kelly’s inner circle told BuzzFeed News similar stories.
R.Kelly has been surronded by accusations of sexual impropriety but has never been convicted, and now more allegations have come out accusing him of brainwashing a series of women into a “cult”.
Reporter Jim DeRogatis has long followed the trail of stories about the singer, and has crafted an in depth investigation for BuzzFeed News and his report suggests that as of summer 2016 there were at least five unnamed women involved, two of them then-teenagers over the age of consent.
Their families describe Kelly as an intensely controlling person who dictates how these women dress and behave. One girl who was involved in the cult reportedly said: “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.”
The accusations against Kelly include that he confiscated the women’s phones, filmed sexual activity with them to show male friends and demanded the women call him “daddy”.
Police in the area have investigated the girls wellbeing and found nothing illegal about the arrangements. One of the women who is an aspiring singer told the police that she was “fine and did not want to be bothered with her parents”.
Parents interviewed by the BuzzFeed News reporter revealed that they are no longer able to contact their daughter saying, “We’ve had deaths in the family, birthdays and I haven’t heard from her and she hasn’t been here for any of it. I didn’t even hear from her on Mother’s Day. All I want to do is bring her home.”
Kelly’s lawyer denied the accusations, in a statement to BuzzFeed. “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,” she wrote. “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. Please respect that.”
In 2008, he was acquitted of child pornography, after being accused of filming himself having sex with a 14-year-old girl. Kelly has settled out of court after other accusations of underage sex, and allegedly had an illegal marriage to fellow R&B star Aaliyah when she was 15.