Posted: January 08, 2019
By Fiza Pirani, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
According to TMZ, Kelly did not watch the show, but is “disgusted” and plans to file lawsuits against anyone who took part in executive producer dream hampton’s creation, including Lifetime and the alleged survivors of his abuse.
The six-hour, three-part special detailed accounts of Kelly’s history of alleged physical and emotional abuse of women, including a recent “abusive cult” in which the singer is accused of holding women against their will.
The claims, reported in July 2017 by Jim DeRogatis of BuzzFeed, come from sources living in one of the two homes in which Kelly is reportedly running the cult, including from one in metro Atlanta.
Here are seven things to know about R. Kelly:
Robert Sylvester Kelly was born in Hyde Park, Chicago, in Illinois and grew up with three siblings and a single mother.
In 1998, Kelly won best R&B song, best male R&B vocal performance and best song written for a motion picture for his hit, “I Believe I Can Fly.”
In his 2012 memoir “Soulacoaster,” Kelly wrote about being sexually abused as a child by an older woman, who he referred to as a relative.
In an interview with GQ, Kelly said the abuse went on from around age 7 or 8 to 14 or 15 and occurred every other day or week.
DeRogatis, the same reporter behind 2017’s BuzzFeed story, penned the first sexual abuse allegations against Kelly in a 2000 Chicago Sun-Times story, which focused on a woman named Tiffany Hawkins, who claimed the two had sex when she was 15-18 years old between 1991 to 1994.
In 2013, DeRogatis, who received anonymously sourced sex tapes of Kelly and underage girls, said he had interviewed nearly two dozen women who claimed Kelly sexually abused them, according to Village Voice.
In 2008, after he was arrested and indicted on child pornography charges, Kelly was found not guilty on all 14 counts.
The late singer Aaliyah Haughton, who died tragically in a plane crash at age 22, met R. Kelly when she was 12 years old.
In 1994, after the two formed a close partnership, Kelly, 27, secretly married 15-year-old Aaliyah using a falsified marriage certificate in which she lied about being 18 years old.
Eventually, Aaliyah’s family found out about the controversial marriage and the two ended the union with an annulment.
Kelly and Aaliyah also began recording the album “Age Ain’t Nothing But a Number” in 1993.
In April 2017, Kelly was accused of being involved with the wife of Kenny Bryant, a deputy in the Mississippi Hinds County Sheriff’s Department.
Asia Childress, Bryant’s wife, lied about ending the relationship with Kelly when she and Bryant married.
Eventually, Childress convinced Bryant to move to Georgia for his career, but “the ulterior motive ... was to foster her relationship with R. Kelly,” the lawsuit read.
Bryant said he went through “grievous mental and emotional distress” and “financial ruin.”
In a 2015 interview with AJC’s Melissa Ruggieri, Kelly said: “I’ve always loved Atlanta, I’ve always called it Chicago’s cousin. When I come to Atlanta it reminds me of my hometown. I’ve got a lot of friends here, so it always felt like home. I used to say all the time when I get a chance I’m gonna get a three-flat and come to Atlanta and I finally got my chance and I’m here and I’m just trying to plant a few seeds here musically.”
According to the 2017 BuzzFeed story, one of the homes in which Kelly is accused of running a cult in is located in Georgia's Johns Creek neighborhood in north Fulton County.
The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network says calls to its national hotline have increased more than 20 percent since Lifetime aired “Surviving R. Kelly.”
The three-part docuseries aired Thursday through Saturday and looked at the exploitative patterns of abuse the R&B singer allegedly engaged in with underage girls.
The National Sexual Assault Hotline had 27 percent more calls on Thursday than the same day the week before, a RAINN spokesperson told The Daily Beast. The organization said hotline traffic typically increases when sexual abuse is in the news.
RAINN tweeted during the first night of the series, encouraging those who may need to talk to call the hotline.
“Watching or reading about ‘Surviving R. Kelly’ and need to talk? The National Sexual Assault Hotline is here 24/7—800.656.HOPE and online.rainn.org.”
On Saturday night, Lifetime aired the last installments of “Surviving R. Kelly,” which made the singer a trending topic on Twitter yet again.
The conclusion of the three-night, six-part event delved into the singer’s history of alleged physical and emotional abuse of women. The final episodes focused on R. Kelly’s alleged sex cult at his homes in two cities, including one in metro Atlanta.
R. Kelly’s accusers, including an anonymous former employee; Michelle Kramer; Tim and JonJelyn Savage; Alice Clary and Angelo Clary; and his ex-girlfriends Kitti Jones and Asante McGee all detailed alleged abuse.
The Savages, the Clarys and Kramer each said their daughters had been “brainwashed” and were living with R. Kelly. They said they hadn’t been in contact with their children for years.
“There’s three drugs out there: crack, heroin and R. Kelly,” Kramer said.
During a trip to Los Angeles to film “Surviving R. Kelly,” Kramer found her daughter, Dominique Gardner, at a hotel. Although the hotel manager was initially cooperative by walking Kramer to her daughter’s hotel room, where the two reunited after being apart for a year, he later told Kramer she had to vacate the premises immediately. He said someone allegedly called the police on her for trespassing. However, Kramer secretly returned, and moments later, Gardner tearfully and willingly left the building with her mother with just a backpack.
“That was the hardest decision I ever had to make,” Gardner told her mother through tears.
As viewers watched the special, produced by Dream Hampton, they took to Twitter to post their thoughts. Several called R. Kelly a “predator” and a “monster.”
Many were concerned about the women who are allegedly still living with R. Kelly against their will. Both the Clarys, whose daughter is Azriel Clary, and the Savages, whose daughter is Joycelyn Savage, said they haven’t seen their children in three years despite their efforts.
Others commended the filmmakers for including a host of journalists, who spoke about R. Kelly’s legacy, as well as clinical psychologists, who explained the damaging effects of mental and physical abuse.
Folks also urged radio stations to no longer play the artist’s music as a part of the #MuteRKelly social media campaign, which seeks to stop his songs from being played and cancel his concerts.
And a few said they would still listen to R. Kelly’s music, because they believe he is innocent and talented.
Despite the accusations, R. Kelly is not facing any criminal charges and is not known to be under investigation. He has also denied all claims of sexual abuse.
On Friday night, Lifetime aired episodes 3 and 4 of “Surviving R. Kelly,” and people took to Twitter again to share their thoughts about the series’ revelations.
Night two of the three-night, six-part event continued to delve into the singer’s history of alleged physical and emotional abuse of women. It specifically focused on the sex tape that allegedly captured the musician urinating on an underage girl and the subsequent child pornography trial against him.
In 2002, he was charged with 21 counts of child pornography. He pleaded not guilty and was acquitted of all charges in 2008.
The songwriter’s brothers, Carey and Bruce Kelly; former tour manager and personal assistant Demetrius Smith; music producer Craig Williams; and a host of journalists and clinical psychologists all spoke about the controversial case.
R. Kelly’s accusers, including Jovante Cunningham, Lisa Van Allen, Jerhonda Pace, Sparkle and R. Kelly’s ex-wife, Andrea Kelly, also continued to recount their alleged abuse.
Andrea Kelly said R. Kelly moved her from Illinois to Florida, while she was pregnant with their third child, shortly before he was charged. She said the stress of the allegations almost caused her to miscarry their son, to whom she gave birth soon after she learned about R. Kelly’s indictment.
Pace, who met the artist at 14 during his trial, said she was often isolated in his home and once went without food for three days.
Many viewers posted their commentary on Twitter as they watched. Several said they were shocked R. Kelly allegedly continued to pursue young girls while going back and forth to court.
Some were appalled that one juror from the trial said he didn’t believe the accusers’ allegations because of the way they were dressed.
Others condemned R. Kelly’s colleagues who condoned his alleged actions.
A few even began to question the lyrics of the music they listen to.
On the other hand, a couple of folks said they would continue to listen to R. Kelly’s music and said he was innocent.
Despite the accusations, R. Kelly is not currently facing any criminal charges and is not known to be under investigation. He has also denied all claims of sexual abuse.
“Surviving R. Kelly,” produced by Dream Hampton, will conclude on Lifetime at 9 p.m. ET Saturday, Jan. 5.
Diane Houghton, the mother of the late singer and R. Kelly protege Aaliyah, is shutting down accusations made about her daughter in Lifetime’s “Surviving R. Kelly docuseries.
Essence reported that preview footage from the series shows former R. Kelly backup singer Jovante Cunningham claim she saw Kelly and Aalyiah, who was underage at the time, having sex on a tour bus.
“So it just so happened we were all laying in our bunks and the curtains are open, everybody’s communicating, laughing…when the (room) door flew open on the bus. Robert was having sex with Aaliyah,” Cunningham said.
Houghton issued a pointed statement slamming Cunningham and the series:“The woman and so-called back up singer in the forthcoming ‘Surviving...’ documentary that describes seeing, meeting or ever breathing the same air as my daughter, Aaliyah, is lying and is a liar. My husband and I were always on tour with her and at interviews and every place she went throughout her entire career. Whoever this woman is, I have never seen her before anywhere on planet earth, until now. “These lies and fabrications cannot be tolerated and allowed to be spewed from the forked tongues of saboteurs of Aaliyah’s legacy. My daughter only wanted to realize her dream of sharing her talent with the world, and give her all performing on stage and in front of the camera for the fans she adored so much. She realized that dream, thanks to those true fans who still love and support her legacy unconditionally to this day. “Shame on all those involved in this project who thought it kosher to drag Aaliyah's name into a situation that has nothing to do with her today. Once again, this will not be tolerated.”
In 1994, Kelly, then 27, secretly married Aaliyah, who was 15 at the time. According to a marriage license published by Vibe magazine, her age was listed as 18. The marriage was annulled in 1995.
Aaliyah died in a plane crash in 2001. She was 22 years old.
“Surviving R. Kelly” airs in three parts on Jan. 3 through Jan. 5 at 9 p.m. on Lifetime.
In the teasers, alleged victims Jerhonda Pace, Kitti Jones, Asante McGee, Lisa Van Allen, singer Sparkle and Kelly's ex-wife, Andrea Kelly, break down in tears as they talk about the alleged abuse.
“I felt like a prisoner. I started to believe I was nothing without Rob,” Pace said of the musician, whose real name is Robert Kelly.
Many of the accusers also said they were brainwashed and recalled suffering mental and physical abuse.
“I finally realized it doesn't get better,” Andrea Kelly explained. “It gets worse.”
In addition to remarks from accusers, the film will also feature appearances from celebrities and family members, such as singer John Legend, talk show host Wendy Williams, Me Too originator Tarana Burke and R. Kelly’s brothers. Overall, the project includes more than 50 interviews.
“Surviving R. Kelly” will air on Lifetime at 9 p.m. EST on Thursday, Jan. 3, Friday, Jan. 4, and Saturday, Jan. 5.
Take a look at the trailers below.
For decades, R. Kelly has been accused of sexual assault. Now, multiple people have joined forces to detail the alleged abuse in a new trailer for the upcoming documentary, “Surviving R. Kelly.”
In the six-hour Lifetime docuseries, which traces the vocalist’s childhood to present day, several accusers discuss their relationships with the R&B singer, including his ex-wife Andrea Kelly, who recently spoke out about the abuse she said she endured during her 13-year marriage to him.
R. Kelly’s ex-girlfriend Kitti Jones, R&B singer Sparkle and a host of other women also speak out in the movie.
“There’s a difference between R. Kelly and Robert. R. Kelly’s this fun, laughing, loving guy,” one woman narrates in the clip. “But Robert…is the devil.”
In addition to remarks from accusers, the film also features appearances from celebrities and family members, such as singer John Legend, talk show host Wendy Williams, Me Too founder Tarana Burke and R. Kelly’s brothers. Overall, the project includes more than 50 interviews.
“Surviving R. Kelly” will air on Lifetime at 9 p.m. ET Thursday, Jan. 3, Friday, Jan. 4 and Saturday, Jan. 5.
R. Kelly’s ex-wife is speaking out about the abuse she said she endured during her 13-year marriage to the R&B star.
While arguing with her in the vehicle, he pulled her left arm behind her back and pushed his forearm against her neck, laboring her breath, she said.
“I think the reason why I think I made it out is because I said, ‘Robert, you're going to kill me. I can't breathe,’” she recalled. “I remember sitting in the back of the Hummer and it got blue. I just thought, ‘Oh, my God. I'm going to die.’”
In another alleged incident, she was hog-tied during a fight, she said.
“When he grabbed me and threw me down, I was on my stomach. I’m trying to fight to get away,” she explained. “So what he did, he grabbed the strap to his robe off of the bed. He had his knee in my back, and he took both of my arms behind me, tied them and then attached my legs to my arms.”
She said she was left on the side of the bed and was only able to escape when her then-husband fell asleep.
Andrea Kelly, who was married to the artist from 1996 to 2009, said she is choosing to speak out now, because she wants to save lives and bring validity to other women’s stories of alleged abuse against the entertainer.
Activists have even joined forces to target R. Kelly. The Time’s Up movement launched a campaign singling him out over the the sexual abuse claims against him. And the social media campaign #MuteRKelly seeks to stop his music from being played and cancel his concerts.
Although R. Kelly is not facing any criminal charges and is not known to be under investigation, he has been accused of many crimes over the years, which he has denied.
R. Kelly’s attorney at the time, Linda Mensch, sent a statement to the AJC refuting the claims in Buzzfeed.
“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.”
In April 2018, Mensch and R. Kelly’s assistant resigned from their positions after working with the entertainer for years.
In 2008, he was acquitted on 14 charges of making child pornography.
An Atlanta based property management company is suing R. Kelly for damages to two homes he rented near Johns Creek.
Fred J. Rushing and Heather L. Johnson — two attorneys with RBBS, LLC — filed the civil suit in the state court of Fulton County on Wednesday on behalf of SB Property Management Global, LLC.
The suit claims that Kelly, a Grammy-winning R&B artist who is no stranger to controversy, owes the property management company $203,400 for damages to the two homes he rented from it.
A secretary for Rushing and Johnson said they were in court on Thursday and they did not immediately respond to emails and calls from the AJC. Attempts to reach Kelly and representatives for him were also unsuccessful.
Kelly rented two homes from SB Property Management: a 23-room house on Old Homestead Trail that covered more than 9,000 square feet, and a four-bedroom home on Saint Devon Crossing.
Documents in the lawsuit show that Kelly signed a lease agreement for the Saint Devon Crossing home from July 25, 2017 to July 31, 2018, agreeing to a rent of $3,000 per month. Similar documents show he began renting the home on Old Homestead Trail on Jan. 18, 2015, agreeing to a monthly rent of $10,000.
The suit says that Kelly moved out of those homes in February 2017, but he and SB Property Management didn’t agree to terminate the leases and surrender Kelly’s possession of the homes until Feb. 27, 2018. That came two weeks after the company filed a notice in Fulton County magistrate court to have Kelly evicted from the homes.
The next day, the suit says, SB Property management inspected the homes and found “extensive damage” that was “beyond normal wear and tear.” After evaluating the damage, the company sent a demand for payment to Kelly, Chicago-based attorney Linda Mensch and to Outsyder Entertainment.
Mensch told the AJC on Thursday that she no longer represents Kelly.
According to the suit, the damages to the Old Homestead Trail house were so severe that the company was unable to re-lease it. The company claims that there was extensive damage to electrical work in the home and it would have to refinish flooring and carpet in many of the rooms. There were also two broken windows, and items such as a stove, bedroom furniture, pillows, a table, six mirrors, 22 light fixtures and ceiling fans were missing. The suit claims that the theatre, fitness room, cigar room, study, bathrooms, first floor kitchen and living room were all damaged.
The Saint Devon Crossing home had trash in it and also had two broken windows, the suit says.
These were the same homes that were “ransacked” in 2017 after a former associate of Kelly’s, Alfonso L. Walker, broke into them, then stole and sold many of the items inside. The Lawrenceville man was arrested in December 2017 and charged with theft and burglary.
The suit and attached documents show that Kelly and SB Property Management reached a settlement agreement on April 16. Under the agreement, which is signed by Kelly, he would pay the company $170,000, and then the company would release him from any “claims arising from the damages.”
The suit says that Kelly paid $20,000 to the company on April 17, but the company claims it never received another payment from the singer. He was supposed to make a $30,000 payment 72 hours after the agreement, a $60,000 payment 33 days later, and then a $70,000 payment 68 days later.
None of those payments came, according to the suit. On June 22, Johnson sent an email to Kelly’s representatives demanding the full balance be paid.
At one time, Kelly rented a third home in Johns Creek on Creek Wind Court. In July 2017, after BuzzFeed published an article claiming that Kelly “held women against their will in a cult” there, Tim and Jonjelyn Savage of Atlanta held a press conference outside the home. They said their daughter Joycelyn was “beat” by Kelly and “part of the R. Kelly cult.” Joycelyn later released a video through TMZ saying she was “in a happy place.” More accusers of Kelly have come forth since the original report. He has denied all allegations.
Johns Creek police handed over a file on Kelly to the Fulton District Attorney’s Office in August 2017. On Thursday, a spokesperson for the DA said, “We reviewed police reports that were provided to us, but there was no reason to take any further action.”
In June, the Savages and Kelly’s ex-wife, Andrea Kelly, appeared on the TV One talk show “Sister Circle,” which is filmed in Atlanta. The Savages also appeared on Megyn Kelly’s NBC show in May.
On “Sister Circle,” Tim Savage said that people from Kelly’s camp have tried to contact him. According to a Henry County police report from May 23, Savage said that James Mason threatened him over the phone, saying, “I’m going to (expletive) kill you.”
A Henry County police spokesperson said Thursday that an arrest warrant for those threats has been issued July 24 for Mason. An attempt to reach Mason at the phone number listed for him in the lawsuit was unsuccessful.
Kelly recently booked a Sept. 15 show at New York City’s Madison Square Garden, according to Variety. In July, Kelly released a 19-minute song called “I Admit” in which he addressed the sexual abuse allegations against him, among other topics.
R. Kelly is using music to respond to rumors about his life.
In a 19-minute song called “I Admit It,” the R&B singer, who has been rumored for decades to engage in predatory behavior toward young, underage women, hits back at reports that he runs a sex cult, according to Vibe.
“What’s the definition of a cult?/ What’s the definition of a sex slave? / Go to the dictionary, look it up / Let me know I’ll be here waiting,” lyrics say, according to Vibe. “Say I’m abusing these women. What the (expletive)? That’s some absurd (expletive). They brainwashed, really? Kidnapped, really? Can’t eat, really? Real talk that (expletive) sounds silly.”
More directly, Kelly responds to journalist Jim DeRogatis, who wrote the BuzzFeed News story that brought the sex cult allegations against the singer to national attention. DeRogatis, who is based in Kelly’s hometown of Chicago, has worked on stories about allegations against Kelly on and off since 2000.
“To Jim DeRogatis, whatever your name is / You been tryna destroy me for 25 whole years / Writin’ the same stories over and over again
“Off my name, you done went and made yourself a career / But guess what? I pray for you and family, and all my other enemies.”
Kelly also addresses being sexually abused as a child and proclaims his innocence regarding sexual predator allegations.
“I admit I (expletive) with all the ladies, that’s both older and young ladies,” he sings. “But tell me how they call it pedophile because that (expletive) is crazy.”
“Now I don't know what else to say except, I'm so falsely accused,” he says later in the song.
Kelly once again admits he can’t read or write, something he has spoken about over the years. He also says he is dyslexic.
“I admit I can’t spell for (expletive) I admit that all I hear is hits / I admit that I couldn’t read the teleprompter when the Grammy’s asked me to present.”
Kelly also addresses his shows being canceled following the sex cult reports, addresses #MuteRKelly and Spotify and claims he was told to make settlements to protect his career, but does not appear to address abuse claims made by his ex-wife, Andrea Kelly.
Al Bello/Getty Images
Al Bello/Getty Images
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