Popular R&B star R Kelly has been accused of keeping a number of women in homes in Chicago and Atlanta as members of a sex-obsessed, abusive cult, with several sets of parents coming forward to speak about the shocking claims.
An investigation for BuzzFeed News by Jim DeRogatis, who has long followed the trail of stories about the singer, suggests that as of summer 2016 there were at least five unnamed women involved, two of them then-teenagers over the age of consent.
In an attempt to buttress the allegation, three former members of the R&B singer’s entourage have also come forward and confirmed the parents’ claims of his controlling behaviour.
It was gathered that the website interacted with Cheryl Mack, Kitti Jones, and Asante McGee – all former members of Kelly’s entourage – about the sort of treatment endured by young women who find themselves pulled into the singer’s orbit.
Speaking to Buzzfeed, Mack was quoted as saying: “You have to ask for food. You have to ask to go use the bathroom … [Kelly] is a master at mind control … He is a puppet master.”
The accusations against Kelly include that he confiscated the women’s phones, filmed sexual activity with them to show male friends and demanded the women – who call him “daddy” – ask permission to leave their rooms, rented by Kelly in buildings in Chicago and Atlanta.
Jones accuses Kelly of slapping her and holding her against a tree after she was deemed to be too friendly towards a Subway employee.
Meanwhile, a representative for Kelly spoke out on Monday afternoon about the claims, saying the singer ‘unequivocally denies’ them and said he will ‘work diligently and forcibly to pursue his accusers and to clear his name’.
“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,” Linda Mensch wrote. “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.”