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Posted: June 14, 2018

R. Kelly’s ex-wife Andrea Kelly speaks out about domestic abuse during marriage

R. Kelly Fast Facts

By Mitchell Northam, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

ATLANTA —

It’s been less than a year since a BuzzFeed report claimed singer R. Kelly “held women against their will in a cult” at his homes. The day that story came out, on July 17, 2017, the family of one of Kelly’s alleged victims held a press conference in front of one of the singer’s former homes in an Atlanta-area neighborhood.

The #MeToo movement and #MuteRKelly campaigns have empowered more of Kelly’s alleged victims to come out and speak. And Tim and Jonjelyn Savage continue to publicly fight for their daughter, 21-year-old Joycelyn, to stop living with Kelly.

On Wednesday, the Savages appeared on the TV One talk show “Sister Circle” along with the singer’s ex-wife, Andrea Kelly. The show is filmed at a studio in Atlanta.

>> Read more trending news 

Andrea Kelly, who is also the mother of the singer’s three children, was married to Kelly from 1996 to 2009. She said Kelly abused her throughout their relationship and that she contemplated taking her own life by jumping off a balcony before, she said, God let her see in the future.

Related: R. Kelly accused of abusing women, running cult

“The basis of this stance is you have to love somebody enough to tell them, ‘Enough.’ And I don’t believe that my ex-husband has enough people in his life to be real with him, to be honest with him, who care about his healing, who care about these families’ healings, and I feel like it’s God’s time,” she told “Sister Circle.”

Looking directly at the camera as if she was talking to her ex-husband, Andrea Kelly disputed some of the claims he made in his 2013 book, “Soulacoaster: The Diary of Me.”

“My truth is, Robert, you don’t get to tell my story. That is my truth. You should have never put me in your book. And if you’re going to put me in your book, then you’re going to tell the truth in the book,” she said. “You don’t get to tell people that we got divorced because I had a problem with being a stay-at-home mom. We got divorced because I was no longer going to sit and be violated. What he did to me was criminal.”

After hearing Andrea Kelly’s story, the Savages joined her on the set.

“We didn’t want to go to the media,” Jonjelyn Savage said on the talk show, fighting back tears. “We had no choice. They think that, because somebody is over 18 (years old) that they’re grown, but we know our daughter. We know she’s not sane. The phone calls we’ve got are like prison calls.”

Jonjelyn Savage said that her family “refuses” to take any settlements or payments from Kelly. She and Tim Savage also appeared on Megyn Kelly’s show in May.

People from Kelly’s camp have tried to contact the Savages, according to a report from the Henry County police on May 23 that was acquired by BuzzFeed.

According to the report, James Mason, whom BuzzFeed identified as Kelly’s manager, called Tim Savage and told him, “I’m gonna do harm to you and your family. When I see you, I’m gonna get you. I’m going to (expletive) kill you.”

Police filed the incident as a terroristic threat. Tim Savage told police he had not had any contact with his daughter in two years, according to the report.

A spokesperson for the Henry County Police Department told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Thursday that “the incident is still being investigated.”

Joycelyn Savage was spotted by TMZ on May 7 shopping in Los Angeles. She told the website that she was on vacation and visiting family and friends. Kelly wasn’t with her.

“There’s rumors out there. People saying I’m captive or held hostage. Well, obviously, that’s not true. I’m out here enjoying life, as you can see,” she told TMZ. “None of that is true.”

In multiple statements, Kelly has routinely denied the claims of abuse, including the claims that he runs a sex cult. 

Related: R. Kelly ‘unequivocally denies’ claims he’s holding women against their will in ‘cult’

Kelly, who last performed in Atlanta in August, has stayed in the news recently. On May 21, The New York Times reported that a Texas woman filed a lawsuit against him, alleging sexual battery, false imprisonment and failure to disclose a sexually transmitted disease.

Related: R. Kelly sued by Texas woman for sexual battery, false imprisonment, claims he gave her STD

On May 15, according to the Chicago Tribune, a U.S. District judge threw out a federal lawsuit Kelly had filed against Comcast Spectator, which runs the Macon Coliseum, when Kelly and attorneys representing him failed to appear in court. Kelly claimed that Comcast Spectator owed him $100,000 for an unpaid performance.

In a video acquired by Spin Magazine in May, Kelly says, “It’s too late. They should have done this (expletive) 30 years ago,” referring to the #MuteRKelly movement, which was co-founded by Atlanta resident Kenyette Barnes. She and former Fulton County Chairman John Eaves protested Kelly’s concert at the Wolf Creek Amphitheater In August 2017.

Related: R. Kelly loses lawsuit against Georgia venue after attorneys quit

Celebrities such as Ava DuVernay, Shonda Rhimes, John Legend and Quest Love have shown support for #MuteRKelly on social media.

For a brief time, music-streaming service Spotify stopped promoting Kelly on its platform and removed his music from its pre-made playlists, saying on May 10 that he had violated its new Hate Content and Hateful Conduct policy. But on June 1, following backlash, Spotify ditched the policy and its ban on Kelly. Pitchfork reported that Apple Music and Pandora had also stopped promoting Kelly and had removed his music from curated playlists.

Kelly had two homes in Georgia, but was evicted from both in February. Fulton County records show he owed more than $31,000 in past due rent payments. Prior to his eviction, the homes were ransacked in 2017 by Alfonso Walker. He was arrested and charged with theft and burglary.


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Marcus Ingram/Getty Images

R. Kelly’s ex-wife Andrea Kelly speaks out about domestic abuse during marriage

Marcus Ingram/Getty Images

R. Kelly’s ex-wife Andrea Kelly speaks out about domestic abuse during marriage

Andrea Kelly, the ex-wife of R&B singer R. Kelly, spoke out about domestic abuse during their marriage on an episode of the talk show "Sister Circle." (Photo by Marcus Ingram/Getty Images)

R. Kelly accused of abusing women, running cult

A story published Monday by BuzzFeed claims Grammy-winning singer R. Kelly “held women against their will in a cult” at his homes in two cities, including one in metro Atlanta.

>> Read more trending news 

The story, titled “Inside The Pied Piper of R&B’s ‘Cult,’” cites as sources three sets of parents of the women they say are living with Robert Sylvester Kelly, also known as R. Kelly, along with a few people formerly part of his inner circle. They say these women live in Kelly’s homes in Chicago and in Johns Creek, Georgia, in an environment that is “an abusive cult.”

According to the story, the parents and former members of Kelly’s inner circle said that the women who live with him are forbidden to contact their families, must ask his permission to go anywhere or communicate with anyone and are required to call him “Daddy.” The people cited in the story also say that Kelly films his sexual encounters with them.

Johns Creek police told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Monday that despite the allegations in the story, “no further investigation is being conducted at this time” of Kelly and alleged happenings at his metro Atlanta home.

The AJC obtained a report from a well-being check that Johns Creek police conducted on Dec. 27, 2016 after parents of one Atlanta woman called and said their daughter was being “beat” by Kelly and believed their daughter was “part of the R. Kelly cult.”

The mother – who is identified in the BuzzFeed story as “J.” by reporter Jim DeRogatis – told police that Kelly is abusive and that she hadn’t seen her 22-year-old daughter in three weeks.

The AJC is not identifying the parents of the Atlanta woman in the story, to protect the identity of the alleged victim.

According to the report, Johns Creek police went to two homes, one on Creek Wind Court and another on Old Homestead Trail. They checked the house on Creek Wind Court, which the mother believes was Kelly’s guest home. When police arrived, the door was open and no one was home.

The parents have announced that they will hold a press conference at 5 p.m. on Monday in front of the home on Creek Wind Court.

READ: Lawsuit says Young Thug owes $2.2 million on his Atlanta home

READ: Neighbors say Tyler Perry’s old Johns Creek home turning into an eyesore 

The three inner circle sources include Cheryl Mack, once Kelly’s personal assistant; Kitti Jones and Asante McGee, who both lived with Kelly and had sexual relationships with him at different times over the past five years, they say in the story.

Mack called Kelly a “puppet master.” Jones described her time with Kelly as being trapped. She also detailed some of the experiences of the other women the sources say are being held by Kelly, noting that if the women broke any of Kelly’s rules, he punished them physically and verbally.

“R. Kelly is the sweetest person you will ever want to meet,” McGee says in the story. “But Robert is the devil.”

In 2008, Kelly was acquitted on 14 charges of making child pornography. In April, a lawsuit was filed against Kelly in Illinois accusing him of having an affair with the wife of a police officer. The BuzzFeed story reported several other civil lawsuits against Kelly have been settled out of court with cash payments. In a 2016 interview with GQ, Kelly claimed he was sexually abused by a family member as a child.

READ: R. Kelly sued for alleged affair with deputy’s wife

READ: Woman charged in murder of Georgia teen released on bond 

The AJC reached out to Kelly’s lawyer, Linda Mensch, but she did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

“It is interesting that stories and tales debunked many years ago turn up when (Kelly’s) goal is to stop the violence; put down the guns; and embrace peace and love,” Mensch said in the BuzzFeed story. “I suppose that is the price of fame. Like all of us, Mr. Kelly deserves a personal life. Please respect that.”

R. Kelly ‘unequivocally denies’ claims he’s holding women against their will in ‘cult’

Daniel Boczarski/Getty Images/Getty Images

R. Kelly ‘unequivocally denies’ claims he’s holding women against their will in ‘cult’

Musician R. Kelly is refuting a story by BuzzFeed alleging he “held women against their will in a cult.”

>> Read more trending news

The story, titled “Inside The Pied Piper of R&B’s ‘Cult,’” cites as sources three sets of parents of the women allegedly living with Robert Sylvester Kelly, along with a few people formerly part of his “inner circle”. According to the sources, the women live in Kelly’s homes in Chicago and suburban Atlanta in an environment that is “an abusive cult.”

Related: R. Kelly accused of abusing women, running cult

Timothy and Jonjelyn Savage, the parents of one Atlanta woman mentioned in the story held a press conference Monday afternoon in front of a house in Johns Creek where they say Kelly “abused and brainwashed” their daughter.

Kelly’s attorney released a statement denying the claims.

“Mr. Robert Kelly is both alarmed and disturbed at the recent revelations attributed to him,” the statement said. “Mr. Kelly unequivocally denies such allegations and will work diligently and forcibly to pursue his accusers and clear his name.”

Johns Creek police told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Monday that despite the allegations in the story, “no further investigation is being conducted at this time” of Kelly and alleged happenings at his metro Atlanta home.

Spotify removes R. Kelly’s music from playlists under new hateful content policy

On the heels of #MuteRKelly, Spotify will no longer have the R&B singer’s music available in playlists. 

Billboard reported Thursday that Kelly’s music has been removed from the streaming service’s editorial and algorithmic playlists under the terms of a new public hate content and hateful conduct policy put in place. Under the policy, hate content is “content that expressly and principally promotes, advocates, or incites hatred or violence against a group or individual based on characteristics, including, race, religion, gender identity, sex, ethnicity, nationality, sexual orientation, veteran status, or disability.”

>> Read more trending news 

In a statement to Billboard, Spotify said, “We are removing R. Kelly’s music from all Spotify owned and operated playlists and algorithmic recommendations such as Discover Weekly. His music will still be available on the service, but Spotify will not actively promote it. We don’t censor content because of an artist’s or creator’s behavior, but we want our editorial decisions -- what we choose to program -- to reflect our values. When an artist or creator does something that is especially harmful or hateful, it may affect the ways we work with or support that artist or creator.”

Kelly has been accused of sexual violence against underage black women for decades. A Dec. 1994 - Jan. 1995 issue of Vibe Magazine exposed Kelly’s secret marriage of Kelly to the late singer Aaliyah, who was allegedly 15 at the time, when he was 27. The marriage was soon annulled. In 2008, he was acquitted of child pornography charges after a six-year ordeal stemming from a videotape that showed a man who looked like Kelly having sex with an underage girl.

In July 2017, BuzzFeed News published a story that claimed the now 51-year-old was running a sex cult out of his Chicago mansion. Since then, more women have come forward to say they were abused by Kelly. Kelly has routinely denied any allegations of sexual misconduct and violence.

On April 30, Women of Color of Time’s Up, a sub group within the Time’s Up organization that works on issues specifically impacting women and girls of color, posted an open letter calling for investigations into allegations made against Kelly. The letter called on RCA Records, Kelly’s label; Ticketmaster; Spotify; Apple Music and Greensboro Coliseum Complex, where Kelly had a May 11 concert scheduled, to cut ties with the singer.

The Chicago Tribune reported on Thursday that, according to a representative for the Coliseum, the Friday concert is still happening. Ticketmaster still has the event listed on its websiteBillboard reported that RCA Records has not dropped Kelly from its label. An Apple Music representative did not immediately respond when reached by Rolling Stone for comment on the open letter.

In response to the letter, Kelly’s manager issued a statement, saying in part, “R. Kelly supports the pro-women goals of the Time’s Up movement. We understand criticizing a famous artist is a good way to draw attention to those goals -- and in this case, it is unjust and off-target.”

  R. Kelly accused of abusing women, running cult
  R. Kelly ‘unequivocally denies’ claims he’s holding women against their will in ‘cult’

R. Kelly loses lawsuit against Georgia venue after attorneys quit

R. Kelly’s lawsuit against a Georgia venue was thrown out when he failed to appear in court.

In a May 15 filing, U.S. District Judge John Robert Blake dismissed the singer’s case against Macon Coliseum in Macon, Georgia. In the suit, Kelly’s management company, RSK Enterprises, claimed Macon Coliseum-operator Comcast Spectacor did not pay him $100,000 for a show he performed. Kelly asked for that amount plus damages.

>> Read more trending news 

The case was thrown out because Kelly failed to appear in a Chicago court. He also did not appear at hearings on April 3 and May 8 and was warned “that any future failures to appear may subject this case to a dismissal for want of prosecution,” according to court documents.

Furthermore, the two attorneys representing RSK Enterprises, Heather Blaise and Travis Life, stepped down from the case in April.

“As a result of ethical obligations, Ms. Blaise and Mr. Life are no longer able to represent plaintiff,” part of the April 25 motion read, according to The Chicago Tribune.

The dismissal comes after a Texas woman, Faith A. Rodgers, filed a suit in a New York court Monday seeking unspecified damages, alleging sexual battery, false imprisonment and failure to disclose a sexually transmitted disease. Spotify announced earlier this month that it would no longer promote Kelly’s music by having it in playlists under a new hateful content policy.

  R. Kelly sued by Texas woman for sexual battery, false imprisonment, claims he gave her STD
  Spotify removes R. Kelly’s music from playlists under new hateful content policy

R. Kelly sued by Texas woman for sexual battery, false imprisonment, claims he gave her STD

R&B singer R. Kelly is involved in yet another lawsuit in which he is accused of sexual assault.

The New York Times reported that Faith A. Rodgers, a 20-year-old Texas woman, filed a suit in a New York court. Rodgers said she was 19 when she started a relationship with Kelly.

>> Read more trending news 

NYT reported that, according to the filing, Rodgers said she met Kelly in March 2017 after he performed in San Antonio, Texas. She said she was flown to New York by Kelly after months of phone contact. It was in New York that Rodgers alleges Kelly “initiated unwanted sexual contact” in a hotel room and did not tell Rodgers he was infected with herpes. The suit claims she contracted the disease.

“He turns on all the lights ...And he’s like, ‘Take off your clothes.’ And he says it, you know, with authority in his voice,” Rodgers told CBS News Tuesday. “Not just, you know, he’s demanding me to do this. And I didn’t take off my clothes because why would I? I just wasn’t ready… Sex isn’t something, you know, I’m ready for.”

Rodgers said she ultimately submitted and had sex with Kelly even though she didn’t want to. She claimed Kelly recorded the act on his iPad without her consent.

Rodgers said after the incident, Kelly asked how old she was.  

“I told him and he’s like, ‘You know, if you’re really, you know, 16, that you can tell daddy, right?’ And he was like, ‘You know, you just look about 14, 15 or 16,’” she said.

Rodgers said in the suit that she was in a relationship with Kelly for a year, in which he “routinely engaged in intimidation, mental, verbal and sexual abuse, during and after sexual contact.” The suit alleges Kelly’s actions were “designed to humiliate, embarrass, intimate and shame her.”

The suit is seeking unspecified damages, alleging sexual battery, false imprisonment and failure to disclose a sexually transmitted disease. CBS News reported that Rodgers previously filed a criminal complaint with the Dallas Police Department in April.

In the past, Kelly has routinely denied allegations of sexual abuse. In response to the April criminal complaint, Kelly’s representative said the musician “categorically denies all claims and allegations.”

'We don’t aim to play judge and jury:' Spotify pulls back on hateful content policy

AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File/AP

'We don’t aim to play judge and jury:' Spotify pulls back on hateful content policy

After a mix of praise, criticism and backlash from advocates and musicians,  Spotify is pulling back on its public hate content and hateful conduct policy that was issued in May.

The policy, which considered hate content to be “content that expressly and principally promotes, advocates, or incites hatred or violence against a group or individual based on characteristics, including, race, religion, gender identity, sex, ethnicity, nationality, sexual orientation, veteran status, or disability,” removed music by R. Kelly and XXXTentacion from Spotify playlists. 

>> Read more trending news 

Rolling Stone reported that the streaming service announced Friday that the policy would still be in place, but the service won’t be “judge and jury.”

“Spotify recently shared a new policy around hate content and conduct. And while we believe our intentions were good, the language was too vague, we created confusion and concern, and didn't spend enough time getting input from our own team and key partners before sharing new guidelines,” the company said in an update Friday.

“It’s important to note that our policy had two parts,” the update said. “The first was related to promotional decisions in the rare cases of the most extreme artist controversies. As some have pointed out, this language was vague and left too many elements open to interpretation. We created concern that an allegation might affect artists’ chances of landing on a Spotify playlist and negatively impact their future. Some artists even worried that mistakes made in their youth would be used against them.”

Related: Spotify removes R. Kelly’s music from playlists under new hateful content policy

Anthony "Top Dawg" Tiffith, CEO of Top Dawg Entertainment, was among those in the music business who were not fans of the policy. Tiffith’s label is home to Kendrick Lamar, SZA and ScHoolboy Q among others. In an interview with Billboard, Tiffith said that he set up a phone call with Spotify founder and CEO Daniel Ek, Diddy and former Sony Music chief Tommy Mottola. It was that call that ultimately led to the change in policy, according to Tiffith.

“His intentions were good in terms of what they were trying to do, but it just came across wrong,” Tiffith said of Ek’s policy.

At the Code Conference Wednesday, Ek himself admitted that the company rolled out the policy incorrectly, saying, “The whole goal with this was to make sure that we didn’t have hate speech on the service. It was never about punishing one individual.”

To clear up confusion, Spotify reiterated the second part of the policy, which will remain in place.

“Spotify does not permit content whose principal purpose is to incite hatred or violence against people because of their race, religion, disability, gender identity, or sexual orientation. As we’ve done before, we will remove content that violates that standard. We’re not talking about offensive, explicit, or vulgar content – we’re talking about hate speech.”

 
 
 

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