Attorney Linda Mensch gave a statement to Variety on behalf of musician R. Kelly regarding the recent allegations published on Buzzfeed.
This story was originally published on July 17, 2017 at 11:20 a.m.
Parents have claimed that R. Kelly is holding their daughters in an "abusive cult," BuzzFeed reporter Jim DeRogatis explains.
One mother told BuzzFeed her daughter was kidnapped after an R. Kelly concert two years ago, when the singer offered to help her daughter with her budding music career. The unnamed mom saw her daughter last December — and because she says she's living with Kelly willfully, she's not classified as a missing person.
"It was as if she was brainwashed. [She] looked like a prisoner — it was horrible," the mom, identified as "J." by BuzzFeed, told DeRogatis of seeing her daughter last year. "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."
Cheryl Mack, Kitti Jones, and Asante McGee, who BuzzFeed notes are "former members of Kelly's inner circle," confirmed the parents' claims in interviews with DeRogatis. Mack, who served as Kelly's personal assistant for more than a year, told BuzzFeed that the R&B artist is "a master at mind control."
"You have to ask for food. You have to ask to go use the bathroom," Mack told BuzzFeed. "He is a puppet master."
Jones and McGee, meanwhile, told DeRogatis that they each "had sexual relationships with the star at different times over the past five years before leaving." The artist reportedly "controlled their phone and social media use" while they lived with him.
The women are reportedly being held in Kelly's homes in Chicago and Georgia, BuzzFeed reports. Mack, Jones, and McGee also told BuzzFeed that Kelly calls the women who live with him his "babies" and that they have to get permission from him before leaving his homes. The artist also reportedly "confiscates the women's cell phones" to limit their contact with outside family and friends.
Sadly, this isn't the first time DeRogatis has reported on controversial topics related to R. Kelly. In 2000, an anonymous source sent the reporter a tape that allegedly showed Kelly having sex with an underage girl, Variety notes. DeRogatis gave the tape to the police; in 2008, R. Kelly was acquitted from 14 charges of making child pornography, Variety reported at the time.
A rep for Kelly didn't immediately respond to Refinery29's request for comment. We will update this post if and when we obtain a response.
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