R. Kelly denies sexual abuse allegations in explosive television interview
Last February, R. Kelly was charged with ten counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse in Cook County, Illinois. Prosecutors accuse him of forcing oral penetration with one underage victim from 1998 to 2001, forcing oral penetration with a second underage victim from 2009 to 2010, forcing sexual penetration with a third underage victim from 1998 until 1999, and forcing himself on a fourth victim by ejaculating on her in 2003.
For two decades, R. Kelly has been accused of sexual abuse and pursuing inappropriate relationships with young girls, but he has never been convicted of a crime. In 2008, he was famously acquitted of child pornography charges, and his music career continued unscathed. That is, until Buzzfeed News' bombshell investigation in 2017, in which three sets of parents accused the singer of holding their daughters in an abusive "sex cult" in his Chicago-area and Atlanta-area homes.
Following that report, Lifetime produced the riveting docuseries Surviving R. Kelly. On the show, which was released in January, survivors of the singer's alleged abuse describe how he manipulated them into joining the "sex cult" and forced them to stay against their will. These accusations fueled a public outcry that led to Sony Music finally dropping the troubled R&B artist. The series also sparked federal investigations in Georgia and Illinois.
And perhaps the damning piece of evidence to arise? One week before charges were filed in Illinois, celebrity lawyer Michael Avenetti sent prosecutors a recently discovered VHS tape that allegedly shows R. Kelly having sex with a 14-year-old girl - and urinating on her.
R. Kelly has steadfastly denied all accusations of wrongdoing. Now, after turning himself into police in Chicago, and a "friend" paid his one million dollar bond, he has given his first television interview to CBS This Morning's Gayle King. In an explosive sneak preview shared on Twitter, the singer passionately argues his innocence.
"People are going back to my past, OK?," says R. Kelly. "That's exactly what they're doing. They're going back to the past, and they trying to add all of this stuff now to that. To make all of this stuff that's going on now feels real to people... I beat my case. When you beat something, you beat it... You can't double-jeopardy me like that. You can't. It's not fair. It's not fair to nobody. When you beat your case, you beat your case."
When asked if he held women against their will in an abusive sex cult, R. Kelly said, "Not true, whether they’re old rumors, new rumors, future rumors, not true! ... Why would I? How stupid would it be for R. Kelly, with all I’ve been through in my way, way past to hold somebody, let alone four, five, six, 50, you say, how stupid would I be to do that?"
The singer turned to address the camera and continued, "Stop it, y’all quit playin’. Quit playin’. I didn’t do this stuff. This is not me. I’m fighting for my f*cking life."
The full interview airs Wednesday on CBS This Morning.