Posted: October 05, 2018
By Najja Parker, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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 website. Billboard 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.”
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.
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.
“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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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