Last week a shirtless middle-aged dude biked past me happily sing-screaming “Ignition (Remix)” at the top of his lungs, and after I was done marveling at a human living their best life, I began to wonder what R. Kelly had been up to lately. Last we heard, he was getting sued for allegedly wrecking a marriage. As it turns out, R. Kelly has been busy wrecking more than that. Several people have come forward and are alleging that R. Kelly has wrecked their families by luring their daughters into what they’re calling a “cult.” R. Kelly doing not-right shit with young women? How very R. Kelly of him.
BuzzFeed spoke to several parents of six women who are allegedly being held against their will at homes rented by R. Kelly in Chicago and Atlanta. Here’s one example of how R. Kelly lures women in: A mother identified simply as J claims that R. Kelly approached her 19-year-old daughter in 2015 after a concert in Atlanta and flew her out to Indio, California with the intention of helping her music career. Hearing that R. Kelly wants to “help” a teenager should have been a huge red flag, but J says she never thought anything was suspicious, because she was an R. Kelly fan. Now J’s daughter lives with R. Kelly, and she believes her daughter has been “brainwashed” into staying with him.
Three former members of R. Kelly’s entourage – Cheryl Mack, Kitti Jones, and Asante McGee – spoke to BuzzFeed, and it sounds like J and the other parents have a right to be concerned. They claim R. Kelly is a “master at mind control” and a “puppet master.” Part of his alleged puppet master techniques includes replacing their cellphones and new phones to be used solely to communicate with R. Kelly, and punishing them physically and verbally for breaking rules. R. Kelly also allegedly monitors all their activities, and films their sexual encounters with him (shocker).
R. Kelly also allegedly makes the women call him “Daddy,” and he calls them all his “babies.” That barf-making image is made even worse when you think back to those sexual assault allegations and remember that R. Kelly allegedly ordered the women in those tapes to call him “Daddy.” R. Kelly’s cult also includes uniforms of baggy track suits, so they don’t look “appealing” to R. Kelly’s male friends.
BuzzFeed says that police in Illinois and Georgia have done welfare checks on the women. Nothing can technically be done, because all the women involved are over 18 (truly a departure for R. Kelly), and they all claim their relationships with R. Kelly are consensual.
R. Kelly is the worst, but it’s like he’s actively trying to find new ways to be terrible. This latest situation especially. Hell, I bet even other cults are at this very moment trying to distance themselves from being associated with him. “The Order of the Enlightened Whispers moves to change their official designation from ‘cult’ to ‘secretive socially-alienating fringe movement’. You know – not so crazy about being known as a cult anymore.”
UPDATE: A rep for R. Kelly has spoken to TMZ, and R. Kelly is denying the allegations against him.
“Mr. Robert Kelly is both alarmed and disturbed by the recent revelations attributed to him. Mr. Kelly unequivocally denies such accusations and will work diligently and forcibly to pursue his accusers and clear his name.”