R. Kelly’s former girlfriend Azriel Clary levied accusations of sexual and physical abuse against the singer in a new interview that offered disturbing insight into Clary’s years-long relationship with Kelly.
Speaking to the Sun, Clary detailed how Kelly allegedly used blackmail to keep women under his control while assuring that they wouldn’t go to law enforcement with accusations against the singer.
“He has letters from people saying that they’ve been molested or touched by their parents or their brothers or a family member. He even has people on film molesting their younger nieces or younger brothers,” Clary claimed.
“And so I know a lot of women out there are too embarrassed, humiliated, and ashamed to come out because this man had that much power to control them, to make them molest their younger niece or to molest their younger brother. Personally had I ever done anything like that, I would be entirely too ashamed to come forward. Thankfully, I’ve never been in that situation. But have I seen it done to other women? Yes, I have.”
Clary also claimed that Kelly has “hundreds of victims out there,” as the singer allegedly had “girlfriends in every city.” “For the most part he blackmails everyone. He makes everyone do very degrading stuff, whether on film or writing it down, he makes them sign it,” Clary said.
In the interview, Clary claims that early on in her relationship with Kelly, he would “beat me with a shoe – a size 12, Nike Air Force One shoe” for hours; one beating allegedly occurred after Kelly discovered Clary was talking to her high school friends via cellphone. “Afterwards, he came in there and he apologized and sobbed and cried and he did everything to try and make me feel like he was so sincere,” Clary said. “Sexual abuse did happen regularly.”
After viewing Surviving R. Kelly for the first time while Kelly was behind bars without bail, Clary left the singer in November 2019 and returned to her family. Recently, Clary and Kelly’s current girlfriend Joycelyn Savage got into a physical altercation at the singer’s Trump Tower residence in Chicago, with the latter facing charges from the incident. Speaking to the Sun about the altercation, Clary said she only went to see Savage in an attempt to “save her” from Kelly.
Clary also admitted that she lied to CBS journalist Gayle King in defending Kelly during her joint March 2019 interview with Savage in the aftermath of the Surviving R. Kelly docuseries and the subsequent criminal charges against him.
“I definitely do believe that I was very naive and very brainwashed and manipulated by him,” Clary told the Sun. “And as much as I hate to say it, I’m woman enough and I’m grown enough to admit that yes, I was brainwashed and yes, I was manipulated. And yes, this man did have me wrapped around his finger. If he would have told me to jump, I would have said, ‘How high?’ It was all in because I just genuinely just loved him and I love hard.”
Kelly’s lawyer Steve Greenberg responded to Clary’s claims in a series of tweets Thursday. “We are surprised to learn that Ms. Clary is making these allegations,” he wrote. “What she now says is directly contrary to truth, and the facts that have been brought forward by Ms. Clary in the past. It is also directly contrary to what we expect to be the proof.
Greenberg continued, “As with other ‘accusers,’ the lack of proof and their past actions impeach them. In sum, Ms. Clary had a long-term consensual relationship with Mr. Kelly. It continued after he was arrested, when she was free to do as she wished. It is clear that she now seeks to personally capitalize from their relationship, and the only way to do so is to parrot the false narrative. The allegations are not true. Still, Mr. Kelly bears only good will towards Ms. Clary.”
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With Kelly pleading not guilty to federal charges in Brooklyn and Chicago as well as state charges in Illinois, Clary acknowledged that the singer has “no choice” but to maintain his innocence.
“I know that he knows that he’s done something wrong. And truthfully I feel like because he’s 53, he just knows that he has too much to lose now,” Clary said. “And so he just really has no choice but to fight. He’s been doing this for so long, he’s been denying this for so long. He really has no choice but to continue to fight.”