What We Learned From Surviving R. Kelly II: The Reckoning

Photo: TANNEN MAURY/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock.
The long-awaited second part of the chilling documentary series Surviving R. Kelly premiered on Lifetime Network Thursday night, and its first two episodes offered more insight into the dark circumstances surrounding the R&B singer.
Part one of the docu-series aired in January 2019. In Surviving R. Kelly, the women who say they were abused by Kelly bravely step forward to share their stories, each account harrowing and truly disturbing. The survivors describe how the musician lured them into his home, where they say they encountered terrors that would traumatize them for life. 
The 2020 followup to the Lifetime docuseries explored the ramifications of the survivors’ testimonies against Kelly as told by a group of people related to the case; the women who managed to cut ties with him were joined by their families, scholars, journalists, celebrities, and even Kelly’s own brothers Carey and Bruce to discuss how quickly Surviving R. Kelly had impacted the trajectory of the case.
The first two episodes of the eight-part limited series also brought to light a number of stunning revelations about Kelly and the timeline of his alleged predation that has spanned over three decades. Kelly continues to deny all allegations of abuse.

The R&B star had a personal history of childhood abuse

Psychological studies have shown that many adult abusers have been abused themselves, and Kelly was no exception. Interviews with his brothers Carey and Bruce in the second part of Surviving Kelly allege that that the R&B singer was sexually abused as a child.
The Kelly family made their home in the Chicago projects. There, in their childhood neighborhood, Kelly and his brothers were allegedly confronted by a local man named Mr. Henry who exposed himself to them. Per Carey and Bruce, they later found out that Mr. Henry had also isolated Kelly and abused him, threatening him into silence and silencing their mother with $5,000 so that she would not testify against him in court. Some time later, the Kelly brothers claim that they were also the victims of sexual violence perpetrated by an unnamed female family member who was only a few years older than them.

Tiffany Hawkins shares her story

Kelly's pattern of alleged abuse began with a girl named Tiffany Hawkins. Hawkins initially came into the singer's acquaintance in 1991 as his mentee (she was an aspiring singer herself), but the relationship quickly became inappropriate, per Hawkins. Kelly allegedly tasked Hawkins with recruiting other teenage girls for his endless orgies, and before long, she says he also began having sex with her as well. Kelly was 25 at the time.
Hawkins was the first person to try and bring Kelly to justice. After a failed attempt to press criminal charges against him, Hawkins filed a civil suit against the singer. She and her team of lawyers sued Kelly for assault and battery, and the companies associated with him were hit with their own respective lawsuits for negligence. Hawkins was awarded $250,000 from Kelly and his lawyers, contingent upon her signing a nondisclosure agreement that would prevent her from ever publicly bringing up the abuse again.

The "Settlement Factory"

An attorney named Susan E. Loggans allegedly helped a number of the young girls abused by Kelly to settle with the singer's camp for large sums of money. Journalist Jim DeRogatis, who has been reporting on Kelly's alleged history of sexual violence for decades, claimed that Loggans was running a sort of "settlement factory."
Loggans would allegedly meet with women who said they were abused by Kelly and make them take a lie detector test. If they passed, a deal would be made; money for silence, which could be legally enforced by a binding nondisclosure agreement.
"I believe there are more than a dozen of those settlements that we don't know about because there were no court papers," said DeRogatis during his interview. "Loggans has never given me the number; she has only said 'numerous' with a little bit of a smirk."

Kelly wanted his brother to take the fall for his first child pornography charges

When a videotape showing Kelly having sex with an underage girl leaked in 2008, the R&B singer's team scrambled to do damage control.
An artist manager and former SVP Creative at Jive Records named Jimmy Maynes revealed that company executives pressured him to fly to Chicago to buy up as many copies of the lurid tape as he could.
Meanwhile, Kelly tried to convince his brother Carey to take the fall for the child pornography charges. The singer offered Carey a car, $50,000, and a record deal if he would say that he was the one on the tape.

Aaliyah had to get therapy to address mental health issues after her marriage to Kelly

Dame Dash, who produced Aaliyah's later albums and was her boyfriend, revealed that the singer told him Kelly was "a bad man" and that she said she got therapy after their relationship, which included an illegally obtained marriage when she was only 15.
Dash asserts that if the music industry, press, and public had rallied around calling out Kelly's inappropriate relationship with Aaliyah instead of normalizing it with speculation, or turning the other cheek to it, perhaps Kelly's alleged pattern of abuse wouldn't have happened.

Kelly forced survivors to sign false documents

Through his lawyer, Susan E. Loggans, Kelly paid settlements to survivors of his abuse in exchange for them signing non-disclosure agreements. Additionally, he allegedly maintained control over their actions and what they said about him publicly by forcing them to sign false statements making allegations against those close to them.
The parents of Joycelyn Savage's, Kelly's current girlfriend, said that Kelly made her sign documents asserting that Savage's father abused her. The claims are false, they say. Halle Calhoun, a survivor, said that Kelly asked her mother to sign documents that would protect him if anyone asked Calhoun questions about the nature of their relationship — she was underage. Additional survivors, Asante McGee, Jerhonda Pace, and Dominique Gardener, all signed documents with false information about their parents or including information that would help bolster Kelly's reputation or legal case at various times.

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