Musician R. Kelly has responded to accusations that he is controlling and abusing young women in a dangerous “cult.”
The accusations were detailed in a BuzzFeed News article published Monday morning titled “R. Kelly Is Holding Women Against Their Will in a ‘Cult,’ Parents Told Police.” The in-depth story, written by journalist Jim DeRogatis, features interviews with parents who allege their daughters are being abused by the singer.
Kelly responded to the story Monday afternoon in a statement released by his lawyer, Linda Mensch. “Mr. Robert Kelly is both alarmed and disturbed at the recent revelations attributed to him,” the statement reads, according to Variety. “Mr. Kelly unequivocally denies such allegations and will work diligently and forcibly to pursue his accusers and clear his name.”
Along with parents, DeRogatis also interviewed “former members of Kelly’s inner circle” for the story. One of those members, Cheryl Mack, used to be Kelly’s assistant and talked about thinking she was going to “live a lavish lifestyle” when she first got the job.
“No. You have to ask for food,” she said. “You have to ask to go use the bathroom. … [Kelly] is a master at mind control. … He is a puppet master.”
Another member, Kitti Jones, said she recalled an instance when Kelly “held her against a tree and slapped her outside a Subway sandwich shop in spring 2013 because she had been too friendly with the male cashier there.”
“I got trapped,” she said of her experience with Kelly, who has previously faced sexual misconduct allegations. “I had people telling me I was an idiot. But it took me a long time to realize they were right, and I’m talking now because I hope I can help some of these other girls.”
The parents interviewed for the story say contact with their daughters has either slowed or completely stopped since they’ve begun relationships with Kelly, though it’s been difficult to get police to intervene, as the women are of legal age and are consenting to their living situations.”It’s not about my daughter, per se. It’s about all the girls,” one father said. “It’s about my daughter, and I understand that. But the abuse that my daughter is actually enduring, nobody should go through.”
“It’s not about my daughter, per se. It’s about all the girls,” one father said. “It’s about my daughter, and I understand that. But the abuse that my daughter is actually enduring, nobody should go through.”
Read the Buzzfeed report here.