Published Jul 17, 2017The parents of multiple young women claim that R. Kelly is imprisoning their daughters in an abusive "cult," according to a shocking new Buzzfeed exposé by Jim DeRogatis.
DeRogatis has been reporting on Kelly for years, breaking the story about the infamous videotape of Kelly having sex with and urinating on an underage girl that led to the R&B singer's multiple child pornography charges in 2002. Now, he's reporting that Kelly is holding women against their will, implementing horrifying mind control tactics, and abusing them physically and verbally.
UPDATE (7/17, 4:30 p.m. EDT): As TMZ reports, R. Kelly's camp has now denied the allegations. A rep stated, "Mr. Robert Kelly is both alarmed and disturbed by the recent revelations attributed to him. Mr. Kelly unequivocally denies such accusations and will work diligently and forcibly to pursue his accusers and clear his name."
DeRogatis spoke to three sets of parents of the women allegedly imprisoned by Kelly, as well as three former associates of the singer, whose stories corroborate many of the same gruesome details.
Buzzfeed is keeping the names of the victims protected, though former associates Cheryl Mack, Kitti Jones, and Asante McGee went on the record to confirm the victims' parents' claims.
The families and former associates assert that Kelly is keeping a total of six women at his rented properties in Chicago and in the Atlanta suburbs, and "controls every aspect of their lives" — managing everything from what they eat, how they dress and when they bathe and sleep, to how they engage in sexual acts (that are recorded by Kelly).
Kelly reportedly refers to the women as his "babies" and insists that they call him "Daddy." He allegedly also confiscates the women's phones and replaces them with devices that can only be used to contact him and those who get his approval, and he only allows them to leave their rooms with his permission; an SUV with a "burly driver" is almost always parked outside.
Amongst those six women are a 31-year-old "den mother" who trains the other girls (and happens to be the high school best friend of the girl in the aforementioned videotape that went to trial), a 25-year-old woman who has been involved with Kelly for seven years, a 19-year-old model who has made public appearances with Kelly recently, a 26-year-old Atlanta-based songwriter who began a relationship with Kelly in 2009 when she was 19, and an 18-year old singer from Florida believed to be "his number-one girl."
"This is R. Kelly, I'm going to live a lavish lifestyle," Mack said, explaining the thought process of the young women who fall under his spell. She worked as Kelly's assistant for a year and a half, starting in 2013. "No. 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."
One of the mothers explained that she hasn't seen her daughter since December 1, 2016. She described her last face-to-face meeting with her daughter as follows:
It was as if she was brainwashed. [She] looked like a prisoner — it was horrible. I hugged her and hugged her. But she just kept saying she's in love and [Kelly] is the one who cares for her. I don't know what to do. I hope that if I get her back, I can get her treatment for victims of cults. They can reprogram her. But I wish I could have stopped it from happening.
Other parents claim that they haven't seen their daughters in months, but when police were contacted and investigated the situation, the alleged captives said they were not being held against their will. One woman told the police that she was "fine and did not want to be bothered."
UPDATE (7/18, 9:45 a.m. EDT): One of the women allegedly being held captive, Jocelyn Savage, has spoken out against the accusations. "I am in a happy place in my life, and I'm not being brainwashed or anything like that," she told TMZ in a video interview. "I just want everybody to know, my parents and everybody in the world, that I am totally fine. I'm happy where I'm at, and everything is okay with me…I've never been held hostage or anything of that nature."
She declined to answer when asked where she was living, if she had any roommates and whether she was was free to leave.
Read Buzzfeed's entire investigative piece here.