Days after representatives for R. Kelly claimed that the mounting sexual assault accusations against him are “put forth by instigators and liars who have their own agenda for seeking profit and fame,” two women spoke out in more detail about the alleged abuse by the singer’s hand.
During an appearance on NBC News’ Megyn Kelly TODAY on Tuesday, Kelly’s former girlfriend Kitti Jones alleged that the singer first became physically abusive to her shortly after she began living in his Chicago home.
“Two weeks after I moved in I had confronted him about a videotape I saw,” she said, referring to the infamous sex tape, seemingly showing Kelly urinating on an underage girl, that landed him in a prolonged legal battle beginning in 2002. (“It’s crap, and that’s how we’re going to treat it,” Kelly told a Chicago TV station at the time, denying that it was him in the video.) Jones said that upon watching the tape, she recognized the woman involved. “It was a girl he had introduced me to.”
While Kelly had been found not guilty in 2008 due to not being able to conclusively confirm the age or identity of the woman in the video, Jones became concerned when she calculated the age of the woman Kelly had introduced her to. “When I did the math, compared to how old she was when he introduced her to me, it landed on 14,” she explained.
Jones, who now believes Kelly was guilty of the charges, said she confronted him about it. “That was the first time he abused me,” she said.
Jones previously told Rolling Stone Kelly replied, “Bitch, don’t you ever f—ing accuse me of something like that,” and repeatedly kicked her and slapped her in the face. “He just turned into a monster. I blamed myself ’cause I was like, ‘Maybe I shouldn’t [have] said anything.'”
She also spoke about some of the methods by which Kelly allegedly controlled her life. “I had to wear sweatpants, I had to stand up when he would walk into the room. I did have to be on his phone plan. He would put a lot of his girlfriends on his phone plan so he could control who you were talking to, how often you talk to your family, what you’re texting. Things like that.”
She said food was closely monitored and withheld as a punishment for misbehavior. By her own estimation, she lost 23 lbs. during their time together.
Another of Kelly’s former girlfriends, Asante McGee, elaborated on the tactics the singer supposedly used to manipulate his multiple concurrent romantic partners.
“He pretty much tries to say that your family is jealous that you’re with him,” McGee said. “Your family wants to be with him, and you’re happy and this is what you need to do. And if you disobey him, he would fake cry and make you sympathize.”
She recalled a trip taken to Chicago in 2015, ostensibly to spend Easter with Kelly. “I sat in the hotel for like three days before even having contact with him,” she explained. “The day I was about to leave he texted me out of the blue and said, ‘Come to the studio.’ Arriving at 10 a.m. that morning, she said she was placed in a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter travel van until 8 p.m. that night.
Even requests to use the bathroom were closely monitored, McGee said. “I had to use the restroom and texted him, ‘Daddy, I need to use the restroom.’ We were required to call him ‘Daddy.’ He told us to call him ‘Daddy.’ You address him as ‘Daddy.’ You would get in trouble if you didn’t.”
Host Megyn Kelly read portions of a recent statement from Kelly’s management, who rejected the criminal accusations leveled at the singer, and characterized the campaign as the “lynching of a black man who has made extraordinary contributions to our culture.” It goes on to state that 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.”
Kelly’s management released an additional statement to PEOPLE Monday, which claimed 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. We deny the many dark descriptions put forth by instigators and liars who have their own agenda for seeking profit and fame. 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 everything to be safe and sound.”
The statement continues, “Their parents may dislike how these women choose to spend their time, and that must be difficult for them. In some cases, the parents would know how happy and delighted their daughter really is, if only they would bother to return the phone calls, FaceTime calls and texts that she has made or sent to them. Instead, the parents have failed to answer her calls, because they are angling for a financial windfall.”
McGee dismissed these assertions as “bullcrap,” and confirmed her belief that Kelly’s current girlfriend, Joycelyn Savage, is being held against her will and brainwashed. Savage, whose parents also appeared in Tuesday’s segment, was last spotted with Kelly at a mall on April 28.
Jones echoed the belief, and reflected on the sacrifices she made to her life and career to be with Kelly. “When you give up those things for love, you don’t think that person is going to turn into something else. You’re just in it. I felt like I gave up everything and once I was there I was just in it. And the more I started learning about him I just got sucked into it. I felt like I didn’t have anything to go back to.”