Parents of several young women have come forward claiming that the always-controversial singer R. Kelly has held multiple young women against their will, forcing them to participate in what they describe as a “sex cult.” The parents of these women tell Buzzfeed that they haven’t seen their daughters in more than a year, as the “World’s Greatest” singer controls every aspect of the girls’ lives — including what they eat and wear. According to one of these concerned mothers — identified only as “J” — her daughter first met R. Kelly on May 23, 2015 under the guise that he was going to further the 19-year-old’s music career.
J explains, “When we got to go backstage with R. Kelly, we stayed there over two hours. One-on-one with just me and my daughter and him. We went back to talk about the music. He listened to her CD. He was going to help her with her CD, and I was really impressed with him at first, because I have always been an R. Kelly fan.” J says that she hasn’t seen her daughter in person since Dec. 1, 2016 and has only heard from her (via text message) twice since then — on Christmas and on Mother’s Day.
J and her husband are desperate to bring their daughter home and have told police that they’re daughter is “being held against her will” in what they described as a “cult,” but their daughter insists she is there willingly. J's daughter has since identified herself as Joycelyn Savage, 21; she has come forward to defend R. Kelly — and insist that she's there willingly and has no intentions to leave. She tells TMZ she's "never been held hostage or anything like that."
Even so, her parents believe she's experiencing Stockholm Syndrome — and her mother says when they last saw their daughter last December, it was worse than what she even imagined.
“It was as if she was brainwashed. [She] looked like a prisoner — it was horrible,” J laments. “I hugged her and hugged her. But she just kept saying she’s in love and [R. Kelly] is the one who cares for her. I don’t know what to do. I hope that if I get her back, I can get her treatment for victims of cults. They can reprogram her. But I wish I could have stopped it from happening.”
Three women who have previously lived with the singer under similar circumstances have come forward about their troublesome relationship with the father-of-three. Cheryl Mack, Kitti Jones, and Asante McGee have similar stories about their time with the singer, whose real name is Robert Kelly; he controled their phones and social media and asked his “babies” (a.k.a. the women who lived with him) to call him “Daddy.”
They say that they had to ask permission to leave their assigned rooms in his house, and are forced to give up their personal cell phones upon arriving at his compound; they are ordered to wear in “jogging suits” because “he doesn’t want them to look appealling” to other men. The women claim that if they violated one of his strict rules, they’d be punished — physically and verbally. Asante says he’s a different person behind closed doors, explaining, “R. Kelly is the sweetest person you will ever want to meet. But Robert is the devil.”
R. Kelly’s legal issues have been well-documented throughout his career — especially when it comes to young women. In 1994, he illegally married late singer Aaliyah when she was a teenager — he was 24-years-old. In 2002, footage surfaced of the “Ignition (Remix)” singer having sex with, and urinating on, an underage woman.
J and her husband aren’t the only parents fighting to get their daughter back. Two other parents are currently going through the process — including a mother, who asked to be identified as “Theresa,” who says her then-underage daughter met the Grammy winner under a similar guise of helping her musical career. Theresa explains, “I desperately want my daughter but, but I’m not [sure] what will [be]] the repercussions if she doesn’t come willingly. These girls think this man loves them. Matters of the heart are a touchy subject.”
Linda Mensch — a lawyer who represents R. Kelly — has responded to the claims by denying any wrongdoing, a habit that R. Kelly has long adapted when it comes to accusations of unhealthy and sexual relationships with underage women. Ms. Mensch has defended her client, writing, “We can only wonder why folks would persist in defaming a great artist who loves his fans, works 24/7, and takes care of all of the people in life… Like all of us, Mr. Kelly deserves a personal life. Please respect that.”