Update: More Women Accuse R. Kelly Of Abuse
Scott Legato / Getty Images – R. Kelly
R. Kelly wraps his recent tour at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit Feb. 21.
More women have gone on record accusing R. Kelly of sexual misconduct, following news earlier this week that the Women of Color branch within the Time’s Up movement had joined the online #MuteRKelly campaign to demand investigation into allegations against the artist. Those allegations include that he’s running a sex cult.
BuzzFeed interviewed two women who were speaking out against Kelly for the first time in an article published Friday. Lizzette Martinez (now 41) claims that after meeting Kelly as a high school senior, he ended up taking her virginity when she was 17, hitting her on multiple occasions, and pressuring her to engage in sexual acts against her will.
A woman named Michelle also spoke to Buzzfeed about her 27-year-old daughter’s relationship with the artist, which also allegedly began when she was 17. The Chicago-based mother said her daughter, referred to as “N” in the article, is “brainwashed” and part of the Kelly “cult.”
Buzzfeed contributor Jim DeRogatis has written extensively about Kelly’s legal troubles and published an investigative report last summer regarding accusations that he was brainwashing women into obeying cult-like rules while living in his homes. DeRogatis previously reported that former members of the cult claim “he controls every aspect of their lives: dictating what they eat, how they dress, when they bathe, when they sleep, and how they engage in sexual encounters that he records.”
The Washington Post also published a lengthy piece on Friday about Kelly’s alleged abuse after speaking to six women who were once connected with Kelly, including two women who had never spoken publicly about their relationships with him.
Tracy Sampson (now 35) told the Post she began having sex with Kelly at age 16 after meeting him as a teenage intern with Epic Records. She claims that Kelly pressured her to have sex with another girl and filmed her without her consent.
Sampson hadn’t previously spoken publicly about Kelly because she settled a legal claim against the artist that included a non-disclosure agreement.
The Post’s story also includes quotes from a woman named Patrice Jones, who said she was 17 years old when she Kelly got her pregnant and then pressured her to have an abortion.
Kelly’s management released a statement on Friday to the New York Times, along with other publications, that stated: “R. Kelly has close friendships with a number of women who are strong, independent, happy, well cared for and free to come and go as they please. We deny the many dark descriptions put forth by instigators and liars who have their own agenda for seeking profit and fame.
“All of the women targeted by the current media onslaught are legal adults of sound mind and body, with their own free will. Law enforcement officials in Atlanta and Chicago previously have made ‘wellness’ visits to check on the women in question and have found nothing to cause alarm.”
Pollstar previously reported that the women of color branch within the #TimesUp movement WOC released a statement saying: “For too long, our community has ignored our pain. The pain we bear is a burden that too many women of color have had to bear for centuries. The wounds run deep.” It calls on Ticketmaster, Spotify, RCA Records, Apple Music and Greensboro Coliseum in North Carolina to boycott the singer. As of press time the Greensboro Coliseum was still selling tickets to Kelly’s May 11 show.
Kelly’s appearance at a May 5 “Love Jam” concert at Chicago’s UIC Pavilion was nixed with Ticketmaster advising, “Please note, R. Kelly is no longer performing.” A show scheduled for April 27 at Blaisdell Center in Hawaii was also canceled a few weeks ago, although a representative for Kelly told Pollstar that was not due to anything on the artist side. Promoters did not respond to request for comment regarding that date.
Kelly was also accused, although acquitted, of charges related to child pornography in 2008.