In a week of renewed attention to two decades’ worth of allegations of abuse and sexual misconduct against R&B singer R. Kelly, a pair of new reports from BuzzFeed News and the Washington Post published on Friday, bringing forward allegations from three more women who say they were abused by Kelly.
These new accusations come after the women of color group within the Time’s Up movement added their voices to an existing online campaign called #MuteRKelly, which asks for the music industry to cut ties to the singer, and a controversial response from Kelly’s management team which calls the campaign an “attempted public lynching.”
On Friday morning, BuzzFeed News published allegations from two women about the singer’s alleged sexual abuse, written by reporters Jim DeRogatis, who has been reporting on accusations against Kelly since the year 2000, and Marisa Carroll.
In an interview with Vox published last July, the Chicago-based DeRogatis (who is a co-host of the program Sound Opinions on Member Station WBEZ) said: “The thing that makes me sick to my stomach is it’s impossible, in Chicago, to walk three or four blocks in the music communities of the South and West Side and not find ten people who have stories about R. Kelly, or their cousin has a story about him, or their sister.”
One of the women who spoke to BuzzFeed is Lizzette Martinez, who says that she began to have a relationship with Kelly when she was a 17-year-old high school senior in Florida and the singer was 28. Martinez says that Kelly hit her on five occasions, and that he pressured her against her will into performing sexual acts. She also told BuzzFeed that Kelly dictated her behavior: “What I wore, how I spoke, who my friends were, who I could bring around … He’s just so controlling, so abusive.”
The other woman who spoke to Buzzfeed is a Chicago mother going by only her first name of “Michelle”; her daughter, “N,” also began a relationship with Kelly when she was 17. Michelle says that her daughter, who is now 27 years old, has been “brainwashed” by Kelly and is part of the alleged R. Kelly “cult,” and that the few phone calls she has received from N. in the past few years are “like prison calls.”
Kelly and his management continue to deny all allegations.
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SOURCE: NPR, Anastasia Tsioulcas