Inside the Pied Piper of R&B's "Cult"
July 18, 2017 3:17 AM   Subscribe

As the R&B legend tours the country this summer, parents have told police that R. Kelly is running an abusive "cult" that's tearing families apart. Three former members of Kelly’s inner circle told BuzzFeed News similar stories. posted by Blasdelb (17 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
BuzzFeed's DeRogatis is the former Sun Times reporter who has been working this story for years. His R Kelly timeline via WBEZ radio is ... eye-opening (as well as stomach-churning).

Note, the FPP articles as well as the timeline are chock full of potential triggers & language that is probably NSFW.
posted by chavenet at 3:59 AM on July 18, 2017 [4 favorites]

"...on-the-record allegations suggesting ongoing mental and physical abuse of several women in Kelly’s entourage far beyond that of the groupie culture."

How dare he abuse women at a greater magnitude than the amount we have decided (as a community) is acceptable?!

I'd like to think better of humanity, but humanity continues to disappoint.
posted by turbowombat at 4:03 AM on July 18, 2017 [4 favorites]

The protection that money can buy is amazing. It does sound like he has altered his style of predatory behavior slightly, staying above the age of consent these days, but not dialing down the general grossness at all.
posted by Dip Flash at 5:19 AM on July 18, 2017 [4 favorites]

I don't think a word exists to explain how I feel about this. Wasn't it clear to everyone for like the past twenty years that R Kelly is a piece of shit? There are a couple quotes from moms in the buzzfeed article that seem to indicate that they didn't realize.

This dude is a predator. Once he figured out that urinating on 14 year old girls wasn't OK, he just moved slightly past the age of consent and kept doing the same stuff. I feel so sorry for everyone involved in this, the poor young women, their families, man, this is terrible.
posted by Literaryhero at 5:23 AM on July 18, 2017 [16 favorites]

Dip: exactly. The lesson he's learnt is that if he sticks to controlling abuse of 18+ women then he's legally in the clear, especially if there's no provable violence.

As a society, we have great difficulty in dealing with people or organisations who manipulate and abuse people in this fashion - Scientology springs to mind as another example of the same pattern on a larger scale.
posted by pharm at 5:27 AM on July 18, 2017 [6 favorites]

At this point R. Kelly is like Chris Brown, or Woody Allen, or Roman Polanksi, or ...

There are so many allegations and stories about him out there, that if you're still a fan by this point nothing is going to change your mind. I really really want to know the mindset of someone who sees this and decides "no more" but was fine with his marrying a 14 year old or his "video."
posted by thecjm at 5:32 AM on July 18, 2017 [10 favorites]

There are a couple quotes from moms in the buzzfeed article that seem to indicate that they didn't realize.

"I Believe I Can Fly" is still played in churches and schools as an inspirational song. It's hard to hear that and still think he's a bad guy because the whole nation is gaslighting you.
posted by tofu_crouton at 6:16 AM on July 18, 2017 [16 favorites]

I mean, he's been a known predator of underage women for twenty years. Even if it was just in a missing stair way, it's not surprising that he's had time to get more horrifying.
posted by dinty_moore at 6:21 AM on July 18, 2017 [1 favorite]

> J. said she’d heard about past sexual misconduct accusations against Kelly, but wasn’t overly worried.

I don't have a teenage daughter, but if I did I wouldn't willingly let her get within two states of R. Kelly, let alone take her to meet him.
posted by The Card Cheat at 6:27 AM on July 18, 2017 [7 favorites]

Wow, man. I thought DeRogatis had made a pretty convincing case against R. Kelly already, but he always finds a way to be worse. What a fucked-up guy.
posted by kevinbelt at 6:29 AM on July 18, 2017 [1 favorite]

Kelly responds (Variety). One of the women—Jocelyn Savage—responds (The Daily Beast). Her father thinks she is a victim of Stockholm Syndrome.
posted by koavf at 6:47 AM on July 18, 2017

An interview with the author of the Buzzfeed story.
posted by Mr.Know-it-some at 8:11 AM on July 18, 2017

Brittany Packnett wrote a devastating thread about R. Kelly's abuse on twitter last year. It's been getting some more traction since the new story came out.

Key details:

-Kelly raped and abused Aaliyah from the time she was in 8th grade, and put himself on the cover of her album to reinforce his control over her. Many, MANY people in the industry knew. They just didn't care.
-He forced at least one high school girl to get an abortion (probably more than one)-- had his security staff pick her up and take her to the clinic so she would be too frightened by the threat of violence to resist.
-Excerpt from the text Packnett cites in this thread: “But if you’re listing to “I want to marry you, pussy,” and not realize that he said that to Aaliyah, who was 14, and making an album he named Age Ain’t Nothing but a Number — I had Aaliyah’s mother cry on my shoulder and say her daughter’s life was ruined, Aaliyah’s life was never the same after that. That’s not an experience you’ve had. I’m not expecting you to feel the same way I do. But you can look at this body of evidence. “You” meaning everyone who cares.”
-He was permitted to lurk at different high schools and music training centers to find new victims. He would groom them in middle school, abuse them for a few years, and then move on to younger girls.

People have known. Since the early 90s, people have known. But because everyone thought "Trapped in the Closet" was funny, and because people love the theme song to "Space Jam", he has repeatedly been given chance after chance to become more wealthy and abuse more girls and women.
posted by a fiendish thingy at 8:53 AM on July 18, 2017 [25 favorites]

he's become a punchline for some people, who find it easier to think of him as a kooky eccentric than as an abuser. recall dave chappelle's "piss on you" music video skit, as well as his victim-blaming stand up bit about "15 should be old enough to know whether or not you want to get peed on." hell, even aziz ansari ended one of his stand up specials with a fawning account of going to one of kelly's shows and how ~totally amazing~ it was.
posted by Vic Morrow's Personal Vietnam at 9:45 AM on July 18, 2017 [8 favorites]

I work at the college the young woman at the center of the recent story attended last year, from which she disappeared with Kelly just before final exams. We're just a few minutes from Kelly's Georgia mansion and the house where he stores some of his slaves. I assume she is now being kept in Chicago to keep her far from her family.

We make a big deal out of our small classes, student engagement, and one-on-one mentoring. I hate that we failed her. The right person at the right time asking the right questions might have been able to help.
posted by hydropsyche at 4:29 PM on July 18, 2017 [5 favorites]

Is it the 90s again? A Clinton running for President and R Kelly in the news for being a gross pervert. btw- no one thought Trapped in the Closet was funny, everyone thought it was pathetic and gross. It ruined his career for a decade.

J. said she’d heard about past sexual misconduct accusations against Kelly, but wasn’t overly worried.

Right..... because those other girls were slutty slutfaces who'd do it with anyone and just accusing him of stuff out of greed or jealousy. Poor naive, good-hearted rich man has to watch out for those sluts. This is how a lot of women think in many cultures and social groups. It's never the mans fault, it's the trashy gold digging whores causing trouble.
posted by fshgrl at 9:25 PM on July 18, 2017 [3 favorites]

Jim DeRogatis was on cbc's Q this morning talking about this and you could tell he was barely holding himself back from getting really emotional/angry about it. Always liked him on the Sound Opinions podcast so it was pretty interesting hearing him take on a much more serious issue.

Here's a link
if anyone wants to listen, I don't believe it's location locked to Canada but I could be wrong.
posted by mannequito at 11:02 AM on July 19, 2017 [2 favorites]

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