R Kelly denies holding several women in ‘abusive cult’
R&B singer R Kelly has denied allegations that he is holding several young women in an “abusive cult”.
The singer’s lawyer said he would work “diligently and forcibly to pursue his accusers and clear his name”.
A BuzzFeed Report accuses the singer of brainwashing women, who got closer to him in an effort to boost their musical careers.
One of the women said she was “not being brainwashed”. Kelly denies any wrongdoing. He has faced previous accusations of sexual misconduct, but was never found guilty.
The report, which quoted three unnamed sets of parents, said they had not seen or spoken with their daughters for months, and that the women, all of them over the age of consent, had their routines controlled by the singer.
That included rules about what they could eat and wear, when to bath and sleep and how to engage in sexual encounters recorded by him, they said.
One of the women, Joycelyn Savage, 21, told TMZ website she was not in a cult.
In a video posted hours after the allegations emerged, she said: “I’m in a happy place in my life. I’m not being brainwashed or anything like that.” She added that the issue had “definitely got out of hand”.
Kelly ‘alarmed’ by claims
Three former members of Kelly’s inner circle were also interviewed, saying that six women lived in properties managed by the singer in similar conditions.
If they broke the “rules”, they said, the women could be punished physically and verbally by the singer, according to report.
Some of the parents reported their concerns to the police, but the women said they were not being held against their will.
The singer’s lawyer, Linda Mensch, said in a statement: “Robert Kelly is both alarmed and disturbed at the recent revelations attributed to him. Mr Kelly unequivocally denies such allegations.”
BuzzFeed has said it is standing by its reporting.
In 2008, R Kelly was acquitted of 14 charges of making child pornography after a videotape emerged allegedly showing him having sex with a 14-year-old girl.
Kelly is one of the most successful R&B artists of all time, with 40 million records sold worldwide. His best known hits include I Believe I Can Fly and Ignition (Remix).