The unfolding R. Kelly story took another turn when one of his alleged victims accused the singer of attempting to silence her by way of threats. At a Manhattan press conference Monday, Faith Rodgers, alongside a support team that included high-profile lawyer Gloria Allred, claimed that Kelly engaged in “efforts to intimidate and retaliate against” Rodgers in light of two suits she has filed against him and for her role in Lifetime’s highly-viewed Surviving R. Kelly series.
Rodgers claims she met Kelly when she was flown to one of his concerts in New York in 2017, where she says he forced her to have sex despite her telling him she was “not ready” to do so; she says she was later practically held prisoner in recording studios and rooms and that Kelly infected her with herpes. “I trusted him and he betrayed my trust,” Rodgers said at the press conference. “Once I recognized my worth, I knew I had to walk away.” The New York lawsuit Rodgers filed last year accused Kelly of false imprisonment, sexual battery and failure to disclose a sexually transmitted disease.
As a result of that lawsuit and Surviving R. Kelly, Rodgers and her team claim she was the target of online bullying on the short-lived Facebook page “Surviving Lies,” which Facebook took down hours after it went up earlier this month. A response to the Lifetime series, it remains unclear who was behind the site, but it contained what Rodgers alleges are defamatory postings about her. At the press conference, Rodgers’ mother Kelli claimed the family had received “threatening phone calls and text messages,” although she didn’t offer any details or name those who did the threatening.
Allred also presented a copy of an alleged letter sent by Kelly to Rodgers’ lawyer this past October, in which she claimed he or someone connected to him, wrote, “If she persists in court action, she will be subjected to public opinion during the discovery process. For example, my law team is prepared to request the production of the medical results providing the origin of her STD claim, as well as 10 personal male witnesses testifying under oath about her sex life in support of her claim.“
Steve Greenberg, Kelly’s attorney, disputed the veracity of the letter to Rolling Stone. “I have just seen the ‘letter,'” Greenberg wrote. “It obviously was not authored or signed by Mr. Kelly, nor sent on his behalf. He doesn’t write letters. I am on trial today so will have no further comment.”
Allred said Rodgers, who has been based in Dallas, was also in New York to meet with the New York Police Department as part of an investigation into Kelly. The NYPD declined comment on the case, adding, “The NYPD will always exhaustively investigate any crime reported to the police, and encourage all survivors to contact our Special Victims hotline to report a crime.”
The press event also served as the first time since the show that several other survivors or representatives came together for a united front against Kelly. Michelle Kramer, the mother of Dominique Gardner, who is also featured in Surviving R. Kelly, briefly composed herself before offering a terse statement that read, in part, “As a mother, I have a message for him. I and other mothers are watching you. … Our daughters are not alone in this battle.” Talking with Rolling Stone earlier this month, Kramer said of Kelly, “He tries to convince the girls to tell they parents to chill out or don’t be talking. I didn’t know this — I heard about from other families — but once she got home she told me that anytime I would send a message, she got a beating.”
Allred also alluded to another client she is representing “who was not an adult when she met him,” although she would not say if the client had underage sex with Kelly.
Rodgers said she was last in touch with Kelly last year but declined to disclose details of that conversation. Asked what would she say to Kelly if given the chance, she quietly said, “Time’s up.”