On Monday, Buzzfeed News broke a shocking story, alleging that R&B singer R. Kelly had brainwashed seven women who lived with him in what two parents described as a cult-like situation. But for the author of the article, Jim DeRogatis, who broke the child pornography story that sent Kelly to court nearly fifteen years ago, it’s only a continuation of previous abusive behavior.
In a statement released on Monday, R. Kelly’s rep said he is “alarmed and disturbed by the recent revelations attributed to him.” She continued, “Mr. Kelly unequivocally denies such accusations and will work diligently and forcibly to pursue his accusers and clear his name.”
Jocelyn Savage, the daughter of the parents who originally came forward to make the charges, did a Facetime interview with TMZ. In the interview, she claimed to be with Kelly willingly. “I’m in a happy place with my life, and I’m not being brainwashed or anything like that,” she said.
But when TMZ asked her if she had other roommates and if she was free to come and go as she pleased, she disturbingly said, “I won’t speak on that.” Likewise, when they asked where she was speaking from, she declined to reveal her location.
In an interview with the Village Voice, DeRogatis unbendingly stands by his story. He recalls when he was a writer at the Sun-Times, and rape allegations against Kelly landed on his desk. He followed the tip to a one-hundred-page lawsuit against Kelly. But, he says, Kelly paid off the plaintiff, and the case disappeared. As he continued to follow the case, DeRogatis only found more evidence—young women who had tried to kill themselves; women whose lives were ruined; a young girl who was assaulted and forced to have an abortion all before the age of 18.
DeRogatis also speaks to the fact that people seem to overlook his past, saying he’s never been convicted in a court of law. “He’s never been tried in court for rape, but look at the statistics. The numbers of rapes that happened, the numbers of rapes that were reported, the numbers of rapes that make it to court and then the conviction rate. I mean, it comes down to something minuscule. He’s never had his day in court as a rapist. It’s 15 years in the past now, but this record exists.”
He also reminds people that the music they listen to matter, “You have to make a choice, as a listener, if music matters to you as more than mere entertainment. And you and I have spent our entire lives with that conviction. This is not just entertainment, this is our lifeblood. This matters.”
What do you think? Is this is another instance of R. Kelly’s well-documented history of abuse?