R. Kelly is taking aim at his accusers as two more women come forward with sexual assault allegations against him.
The controversial R&B star was targeted by the Time’s Up movement Monday, when their Women of Color subcommittee released a statement pledging solidarity with #MuteRKelly, a campaign in support of the numerous women who claim to have faced abuse by his hand.
On Friday, Kelly reportedly issued a response to the Associated Press condemning the campaign as a concentrated effort to tarnish his artistic reputation. Saying that he is “heartbroken” by the rash of accusations, Kelly describes himself as “a God-fearing man, a son, a brother, and most importantly a father,” and asserts that the media “has dissected and manipulated these false allegations.”
Kelly, 51, also reportedly added that these accusations are an “attempt to distort my character and to destroy my legacy that I have worked so hard to build.”
However, Kelly’s new management told PEOPLE, “The person who released the statement did so without authorization and without talking to the star, and she works outside the R. Kelly organization at a professional services firm. The singer and his management had no idea of who she was. The firm says it has fired this person for putting out the unauthorized statement.”
The statement comes on the same day that Buzzfeed’s Jim DeRogatis, who has been investigating Kelly for years, published a follow-up to his bombshell report last summer outlining what has been called a sex “cult” populated by Kelly’s female companions.
In this latest article, one women details harrowing examples of alleged mental, physical, and underage sexual abuse from Kelly, all while labeling him “a predator. Another woman speaks out on behalf of her daughter, who she believes has been “brainwashed” by the singer.
Kelly’s management responded to the #MuteRKelly movement in a statement issued to PEOPLE on Monday. The strongly-worded message rejects the criminal accusations leveled at the singer, and characterizes 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.”
In early April, several key members of Kelly’s organization, including attorney Linda Mensch, publicist Trevian Kutti, and executive assistant Diana Copeland, all announced that they have severed ties with the singer.
New representatives for Kelly responded to PEOPLE’s request for comment with the below:
“R. Kelly 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.”
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Accusations of sexual misconduct have followed Kelly for years, and a BBC Three documentary, released in late March, explored Kelly’s alleged behavior with an interview from Kelly’s ex-girlfriend Kitti Jones claiming that she was “physically, mentally, verbally, and sexually” abused.
In a previous statement to PEOPLE, a former rep for Kelly denied allegations Jones made in a Rolling Stone article from October 2017. Kelly also dismissed a BuzzFeed story titled “R. Kelly Is Holding Women Against Their Will in a ‘Cult,’ Parents Told Police,” calling the claims “a bunch of crap” on social media in July.
His then-lawyer Mensch also denied the allegations in a statement to PEOPLE, saying, “Mr. Robert Kelly is both alarmed and disturbed at the recent revelations attributed to him. Mr. Kelly unequivocally denies such allegations and will work diligently and forcibly to pursue his accusers and clear his name.”