R. Kelly has been holding several women against their will in a so-called “cult” at his homes in Atlanta and Georgia, according to a new report from BuzzFeed published on Monday. Parents of a 21-year-old aspiring singer from Georgia claim they have had limited contact with their daughter since May 2015, when she first met Kelly backstage at a concert in Indio, California. The daughter moved in with Kelly shortly after. Her parents tell BuzzFeed that when they last saw her in December 2016, she appeared to be “brainwashed” and “looked like a prisoner.”
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BuzzFeed’s report is supported by Cheryl Mack, Kitti Jones, and Asante McGee, three former members of Kelly’s entourage. According Mack, Jones, and McGee, a total of six women currently live in Kelly’s homes, with the singer controlling everything from how they eat to how they engage in sexual encounters, which are recorded. “You have to ask for food. You have to ask to go use the bathroom,” says Mack. “[Kelly] is a master at mind control… He is a puppet master.” Mack, Jones, and McGee also provided details on who was living with Kelly last summer. The group included a 31-year-old “den mother,” a 25-year-old who has been “part of Kelly’s scene” for seven years, a 19-year-old model, a 26-year-old songwriter who began a relationship with Kelly when she was 19, and an 18-year-old singer from Florida. As BuzzFeed notes, it is not illegal for consenting adults to engage in non-traditional relationships.
Upon their arrival, cell phones are confiscated and replaced with new ones that they can use to only contact him or people he’s approved of.
Mack, Jones, and McGee revealed to BuzzFeed that the women who live with Kelly are required to address him as “Daddy”; he calls them his “babies.” Upon their arrival, cell phones are confiscated and replaced with new ones that they can use to only contact him or people he’s approved of. Mack, Jones, and McGee also claim that Kelly films his sexual activities with the women and shows the footage to “men in his circle.” The women are also required to dress in jogging suits, according to Mack, because Kelly “doesn’t want their figures to be exposed; he doesn’t want them to look appealing.” Kelly also requires that the women “turn around and face the wall in their jogging suits” when other men are in the room.
As BuzzFeed reports, welfare checks have been performed in Illinois and Georgia in the past year, but no charges have been made. A police report obtained by BuzzFeed from the Cook County Sheriff’s office in Chicago notes that the 21-year-old singer from Georgia told police during a welfare check in January 2017 that she was “fine and did not want to be bothered with her parents because her father was threatening people.”
BuzzFeed also spoke with the Florida parents of an aspiring singer who met Kelly when she was 17 and moved into one of his properties once she reached the age of legal consent. What began as a mentoring “music relationship” turned into worrying one, according to the mother. McGee, one of the three women who used to be in Kelly’s entourage, says Kelly is “head over heels” and “obsessed” with the Florida singer. After more than one year of no contact, the singer called her parents to invite them to an R. Kelly show in Indiana last weekend. Upon declining the invitation, her father learned that Kelly had recently paid for the Florida singer to have breast enhancement surgery.
In 2008, Kelly was tried in Illinois for 14 charges of making child pornography. The case lasted for 6 and a half years and was focused on a videotape that allegedly showed Kelly having sex with a 14-year-old girl. He was acquitted on the 14 charges and as BuzzFeed reports, settled “a dozen or more civil lawsuits” out of court.
Linda Mensch, Kelly’s attorney in Chicago, provided an e-mail statement to BuzzFeed in response to its story: “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. 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.”
Read BuzzFeed’s full report here.