R. Kelly has finally responded to allegations that he is keeping women against their will in an "abusive sex cult."
A rep for the singer told TMZ : "Mr. Robert Kelly is both alarmed and disturbed by the recent revelations attributed to him. Mr. Kelly unequivocally denies such accusations and will work diligently and forcibly to pursue his accusers and clear his name."
A massive BuzzFeed News investigation claims R. Kelly is holding half a dozen women captive as part of an abusive sex "cult."
According to the alleged victims' parents, three former members of Kelly's entourage, and a host of legal documents, the 50-year-old R&B singer is keeping the six women at properties throughout Chicago and Atlanta and controlling every aspect of their lives — "from what they eat, how they dress, when they bathe, when they sleep, and how they engage in sexual encounters that he records."
The report claims Kelly promised to help the women launch their music careers before brainwashing them as part of his "cult." The women were then cut off from all communication with their families and forced to follow Kelly's "rules" under threat of punishment.
"You have to ask for food. You have to ask to go use the bathroom," explained Cheryl Mack, who worked as Kelly's personal assistant for a year and a half. "(Kelly) is a master at mind control. ... He is a puppet master.”
As of last summer, the women living in Kelly’s Georgia “guest house” or Chicago studio included:
- A 31-year-old “den mother” who “trained” newcomers on how Kelly liked to be pleasured sexually;
- A 25-year-old woman who's followed Kelly's scene for seven years;
- A 19-year-old model;
- A 26-year-old singer from Atlanta who began a relationship with Kelly around 2009, when she was 19; and
- An 18-year-old singer from Florida who's reportedly Kelly’s “favorite — his number-one girl.”
Kelly, who's currently on tour, has a decades-long history of sexual misconduct; he's been the focus of at least four lawsuits after being accused of having sex with underage girls, and was once arrested for possession of child pornography.
While Kelly himself has not responded to BuzzFeed's report, his Chicago lawyer, Linda Mensch, sent an email in response to the allegations:
“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,” Mensch 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.”
But the parents of Kelly's alleged victims are desperate to get their daughters home safe and sound — a task that's proven to be difficult, as the women are all of legal age. One mother told BuzzFeed that she hadn't seen her daughter since December 1, 2016.
"(She) looked like a prisoner — it was horrible,” the mother said. “I hugged her and hugged her. But she just kept saying she’s in love and (Kelly) is the one who cares for her. I don’t know what to do. I hope that if I get her back, I can get her treatment for victims of cults. They can reprogram her. But I wish I could have stopped it from happening.”
You can read BuzzFeed's entire report here.