Jamaica Entertainment News– Two new investigations detail decades of alleged predatory behavior several more women have spoken out against R. Kelly, levying allegations of sexual abuse in new reports from BuzzFeed News (by Jim DeRogatis and Marisa Carroll) and The Washington Post (by Geoff Edgers). Two women spoke with BuzzFeed News; six women, two of whom had not previously discussed their relationships with Kelly publicly, spoke with The Washington Post.
One woman who spoke with BuzzFeed News detailed what she says was an abusive relationship that took place from 1995 to 1999, beginning when she was 17 years old and he was 28. The other woman told Buzzfeed News that her daughter has been “brainwashed” as part of Kelly’s alleged “cult” in which he reportedly manipulates women’s lives.
41-year-old Lizzette Martinez told Buzzfeed News that during her four-year relationship with Kelly, he pressured her into sex, hit her five times, and gave her mononucleosis, which resulted in her hospitalization. She also said that he asked her to get an abortion when she became pregnant with his child. (She later miscarried.)
Martinez described how R. Kelly controlled their relationship, including, “what I wore, how I spoke, who my friends were, who I could bring around.” She told Buzzfeed, “I did these things, and I felt like it was always—he was directing stuff. You know, it felt really weird. He was really overbearing…. I’m like, ‘I don’t want to do that.’ But he has a way with people, with women. He’s just so controlling, so abusive.”
Recalling the times that R. Kelly allegedly physically abused her, Martinez told Buzzfeed News, “Then he’s a nice guy afterward: ‘I love you. I’m sorry. You know, I’m going to help you. I’m going to do everything for you, but you have to listen to me.’ It was always I wasn’t listening to him. You know, a typical domestic abusive relationship, and this was, like, my first relationship in my life.”
Later, Martinez reaffirmed the “cult” allegations against. R. Kelly: “My purpose of telling this story is this has gone on for years. This is not new, this ‘cult’ thing.”
The second woman, who Buzzfeed News identified only as Michelle, said that her 27-year-old daughter, who Buzzfeed News identified only as N., began her relationship with Kelly when she was 17—the age of consent in Illinois. Michelle says that when she’s tried to call her daughter she has to go through Kelly. She recalls, “And one time I asked him—he FaceTimed me, and I said, ‘Why you ain’t letting my daughter come home?’ And he was like, ‘She don’t want to come home.’” She says she has not spoken to N. in three months.
In July 2009, Michelle called local Illinois police to see if N. was at R. Kelly’s mansion, as Buzzfeed News reports. The police chief told a local newspaper at the time, “(We) were informed of a possible criminal matter. We investigated the issues, found there to be no crime, and the matters have been closed.” Jerhonda Pace, who previously told her story of living with Kelly, corroborated the incident to Buzzfeed News, recalling that Kelly told her and N. to hide. He did not allow police into his home.
The two women who broke their silence to The Washington Postwere Tracy Sampson and Patrice Jones, who both allege that Kelly began sexual relationships with them when they were underage. Sampson said that she was 16 years old when she met R. Kelly for the first time in 1999. She was an intern at Epic Records. “Being so much older [now], I see how wrong stuff was and how ultimately gross and pedophile-ish it was, but that’s something you have to have your adult brain process,” she told the Post.
Sampson and Kelly began a sexual relationship when she was 16 or 17. (There’s a discrepancy between what Sampson told the Post and what legal filings show, according to The Post.) Sampson said she and Kelly often fought, that Kelly once brought a naked woman into a room and pressured Sampson to have sex with her, and that Kelly filmed her secretly. She had not previously spoken publicly about their relationship because a legal settlement with Kelly in 2002 included a non-disclosure agreement, the Post reports.
Patrice Jones told the Post that she realized she was pregnant with R. Kelly’s child in September 1999. She was 17 years old. She says she did not want an abortion but she got one after Kelly pressured her.
The Post’s report also includes conversations with record executives and other associates who have worked with R. Kelly. Demetrius Smith, a former tour manager, recalled telling Jive Records founder Clive Calder, “Clive, you all need to tell him that you all aren’t going to put out his records if he continues to have these incidents with these girls after the show,” because, Smith says “it was going on at every show.” Calder himself told The Post that he was advised by Kelly’s lawyer that the women filing lawsuits against R. Kelly “were not credible and were taking advantage of the singer.”
Calder told the Post, “Clearly, we missed something.”
Barry Weiss, the chief executive of Jive from 1991 to 2011, told the Post, “I was a record company putting out R. Kelly’s records…. That was all I knew. I wasn’t involved in his criminal cases. We were a record company, for God’s sakes.”
A worker at a studio in Los Angeles where R. Kelly recently recorded (during sessions paid for by his current label, RCA, according to the Post) sent The Post photographs of the studio that show a cup of urine on a piano, as well as a urine-stained wooden floor. When asked about the damage, Kelly’s management team told The Post: “This is an obnoxious question that reflects a malicious and intentionally defamatory motive by the questioner.”
In addition to Sampson and Patrice Jones, The Washington Postspoke with four women who have previously discussed their respective relationships with R. Kelly: Jerhonda Pace, Kitti Jones, Asante McGee, and Lisa Van Allen, who testified against Kelly in his 2008 child pornography trial.
Michelle, Lizette Martinez, Tracy Sampson, and Patrice Jones join a growing list of woman who have spoken publicly against R. Kelly. In July 2017, Cheryl Mack, Kitti Jones, and Asante McGee—three former members of R. Kelly’s “inner circle”—discussed Kelly’s alleged “cult.” Jerhonda Pace then discussed Kelly’s alleged history of underage sex and abuse in August 2017. Kitti Jones has since spoken in detail about her relationship with Kelly in interviews with Rolling Stone and BBC3. In April 2018, a 20-year-old Dallas woman turned in evidence to police, claiming she was emotionally manipulated and knowingly given a sexually transmitted disease by Kelly.
R. Kelly has repeatedly denied allegations of abuse. After DeRogatis’ “cult” story broke, Kelly’s lawyer at the time said Kelly “unequivocally denies such accusations and will work diligently and forcibly to pursue his accusers and clear his name.” Last week, after Women of Color of Time’s Up condemned Kelly in an open letter, his management said, “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.”
In a statement today (May 4), R. Kelly’s management team says he “has close friendships with a number of women who are strong, independent, happy, well cared for and free to come and go as they please,” according to The New York Times. “All of the women targeted by the current media onslaught are legal adults of sound mind and body, with their own free will. Law enforcement officials in Atlanta and Chicago previously have made ‘wellness’ visits to check on the women in question and have found nothing to cause alarm.”
Jim DeRogatis, the co-author of today’s BuzzFeed News report, has a long history with R. Kelly. In 2002, DeRogatis (then with the Chicago Sun-Times) anonymously received a video tape that allegedly showed R. Kelly having sex with an underage girl. DeRogatis turned the tape over to the police, and later that year, Kelly was charged with making child pornography. When called to trial, DeRogatis pled the Fifth Amendment. In 2008, Kelly was acquitted on all charges. He has now written four BuzzFeed News stories about R. Kelly’s history of alleged abuse.