Kelly has been accused of abuse, sexual and otherwise, by multiple people over the course of his career. Via The Root, the Time's Up movement released a statement calling for an official boycott of the "Trapped In the Closet" singer in the music industry. #MuteRKelly quickly became a trending topic. Now, in the wake of Time's Up taking this stance, more women have stepped forward with their own allegations.
Per an extensive report from Buzzfeed, Lizzette Martinez alleges that she engaged in an abusive relationship with Kelly (real name "Robert R. Kelly") when she was just 17. Martinez states that, at the time of their first sexual encounter, she was 17, and therefore under the legal age of consent in Florida, where the pair met. According to Martinez, Kelly hit her multiple times and forced her to perform sex acts against her will.
The second woman, who chose to go by just "Michelle" in the Buzzfeed article, alleges that her daughter began a relationship with Kelly when she, too, was below the legal age of consent in her home state of Illinois. Michelle's daughter, whom Buzzfeed refers to as "N," is still reportedly living with Kelly. Michelle believes N has been brainwashed by the musician.
Kelly vehemently denies the claims made by these women. A statement from his represenatives to the Associated Press states:
"Kelly supports the pro-women goals of the Time’s Up movement. We understand criticizing a famous artist is a good way to draw attention to those goals—and in this case, it is unjust and off-target.
"We fully support the rights of women to be empowered to make their own choices. Time’s Up has neglected to speak with any of the women who welcome R. Kelly’s support, and it has rushed to judgment without the facts. Soon it will become clear Mr. Kelly is the target of a greedy, conscious and malicious conspiracy to demean him, his family, and the women with whom he spends his time.
"Kelly’s music is a part of American and African-American culture that should never—and will never—be silenced. Since America was born, Black men and women have been lynched for having sex or for being accused of it. We will vigorously resist this attempted public lynching of a Black man who has made extraordinary contributions to our culture."
Refinery29 has reached out to representatives for Kelly for further comment.