R. Kelly Claims Abuse Allegations Are 'Lies' in Emotionally Charged Interview, Blames 'Social Media'
The singer — who has been charged with 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse against four alleged victims — sat down with CBS This Morning‘s Gayle King for the emotionally charged interview, which aired in full on Wednesday morning.
Kelly grew increasingly upset throughout the interview, eventually looking directly into the camera, yelling and standing up out of his chair. Video of the moment was shared by CBS This Morning ahead of the full interview.
When King began by asking why Kelly, 52, was sitting down for the interview, he said, “I’m very tired of all of the lies. I’ve been hearing things and seeing things on blogs. I’m just tired.”
“What are the lies that you’re hearing that disturb you most?” King, 64, asked.
“All of them. Got little girls trapped in the basement … helicopters over my house trying to rescue someone that doesn’t need rescuing because they’re not in my house,” he said, adding, “Handcuffing people, starving people. I have a harem, what you call it — a cult. I don’t even really know what a cult is. But I know I don’t have one.”
King then asked if the singer had ever done anything wrong when it came to women.
“Lots of things wrong when it comes to women that I apologized, but I apologized in those relationships at the time that I was in the relationships,” Kelly said.
When King followed up, asking if he had broken any laws when it came to women, Kelly claimed, “Absolutely not.”
King then asked Kelly about the Lifetime documentary Surviving R. Kelly, which was released in January and featured wide-ranging interviews with Kelly’s family members, former friends and colleagues, but most notably, women who claim that for decades the hit-making singer and producer used his power and influence to sexually and physically abuse women and young girls.
“If you really look at that documentary … everybody says something bad about me,” Kelly said. “Nobody said nothing good. They were describing Lucifer. I’m not Lucifer. I’m a man. I make mistakes, but I’m not a devil, and by no means am I a monster.”
Kelly also blamed social media for the allegations against him.
“You can start a rumor on a guy like me or a celebrity just like that. All you have to do is push a button on your phone and say, ‘So and so did this to me, R. Kelly did this to me.’ And if you get any traction from that, if you’re able to write a book from that, if you’re able to get a reality show … then any girl that I had a relationship in the past that it just didn’t work out, she can come and say the same exact thing. I’m talking about the power of social media.”
When King then asked Kelly if he had ever had sex with anyone under the age of 17, the singer emphatically claimed no.
King followed up, asking the singer if he was claiming that all the women who have alleged abuse against him were lying.
“Absolutely. Absolutely. Absolutely,” Kelly said. “I have been assassinated. I have been buried alive. But I’m alive.”
Kelly then grew increasingly emotional, and faced the camera where he continued his heated rant, despite several attempts by King to interrupt the singer.
“Forget how you feel about me! Hate me if you want to, love me if you want, but use your common sense!” he exclaimed. “How stupid would it be for me with my crazy past and what I’ve been through to be like, ‘Oh right now, I think I need to be a monster and hold girls against their will, chain ’em up in my basement and don’t let ’em eat and don’t let ’em out?’ “
“Stop it. Y’all, quit playing! I didn’t do this stuff,” he added while getting choked up. “This is not me! I’m fighting for my f—ing life!”
“Y’all killing me with this s—!” Kelly continued emotionally, standing up. “I gave you 30 years of my f—ing career!”
“Thirty years of my career! And y’all trying to kill me? You killing me, man! This is not about music! I’m trying to have a relationship with my kids! And I can’t do it! Y’all just don’t want to believe the truth! You don’t want to believe it!” Kelly said.
After Kelly’s publicist helped to calm the singer down, he ended the interview by saying, “I’m just telling the truth. I’m just telling the truth. And the reason I’m emotional — and I apologize for that — it’s because this is the first time I was able to say something … I’ve said nothing!”
Kelly was released from jail on Feb. 25 after being indicted by a grand jury on 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse against four alleged victims, Cook Country Sheriff confirmed to PEOPLE.
The R&B singer secured his release by paying 10 percent of his $1 million bail amount.
Kelly’s alleged behavior came to the media forefront again in July 2017, when BuzzFeed published a bombshell report accusing the star of running a “sex cult” out of his Chicago and Atlanta-area homes, and after the release of Surviving R. Kelly in January.
According to those reports, the star allegedly seduced a number of young women with the promise of helping them kickstart a music career, only to “groom” them into being his personal sex objects for whom he allegedly controlled every aspect of their lives.
Kelly has repeatedly denied all claims against him. He is due in court again on March 22.
If you suspect domestic violence, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233, or go to thehotline.org. All calls are toll-free and confidential. The hotline is available 24/7 in more than 170 languages.