Notorious 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.
The stunning allegations made against the 50-year-old – whose full name is Robert Sylvester Kelly – are part of a bombshell report by Buzzfeed News, which cites interviews with former members of the performer’s inner circle and parents of girls as young as 19 who are with Kelly.
The website spoke to 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.
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’.
Earlier, Mack, Jones, and McGee said there are at least six women living in properties rented by the R&B star in Chicago and Atlanta. The ‘guest houses’ where the women are kept are near his home in suburban Atlanta, and his apartment at Trump Tower in Chicago.
They, according to Buzzfeed, then described the 50-year-old as an utterly controlling figure who dictates every aspect of the women’s daily lives: telling them what and when to eat, how to dress, how to cut their hair, when they sleep, when they bathe, and how to engage in ‘sexual encounters that he records’ and then shows to male friends.
‘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,’ Mack, who worked as the singer’s assistant, told the website.
The women, who said the ‘babies’ – as the girls are referred to – are required to call Kelly ‘Daddy’, then ran through a list of people they believe were living either at one of the performer’s properties in Atlanta or his Chicago recording studio last summer.
The first woman mentioned in the article was a 31-year-old ‘den mother’, who is reportedly responsible for ‘training newcomers on how Kelly liked to be pleasured sexually’. Buzzfeed reports the ‘den mother’ ‘had been best friends since high school’ with the person in a videotape that led to Kelly standing trial on child pornography charges in 2008.
The other women his ex-entourage believe were in his properties last summer included: a 25-year-old woman who has known Kelly for seven years, a 26-year-old Atlanta songwriter who began her relationship with him when she was 19, a 19-year-old model, and ‘his number one girl’ – an 18-year-old aspiring pop star from Florida.
Mack told Buzzfeed many of the young women are sucked in by the singer because they think: ‘This is R. Kelly, I’m going to live a lavish lifestyle’.