UPDATE: Azriel Clary’s parents responded to their daughter’s CBS This Morning interview via their lawyer Michael Avenatti. “Azriel Clary is presently suffering from years of mental abuse and manipulation by R. Kelly,” Avenatti tweeted. “Sadly, like so many girls before them, Azriel and Joycelyn Savage have been manipulated and convinced by Kelly to lie to protect him from serious criminal charges. Azriel’s parents never attempted to blackmail anyone and never suggested their daughter take nude photos or sexual videos. And they have never asked R. Kelly for a single penny. These are absolute lies fabricated by R. Kelly and we have evidence to show that these claims are bogus.”
Azriel Clary and Joycelyn Savage both asserted to Gayle King that they were in love with Kelly and dismissed the concerns of their parents, with Clary even alleging that her parents tried to persuade her to film a sexual encounter with R. Kelly when she was underage.
“Okay, so when I first met Robert, my parents told me to lie about my age,” Clary said. “So when I met him, he thought that I was 18. On top of that, when I was 17, my parents were actually making me, trying to get me to take photos with him, take sexual videos with him, all kinds of stuff… [A]nd they said, because if they ever have to blackmail him, what they’re trying to do now, they can use it against him, which is exactly what they’re doing.”
Savage similarly accused her parents of trying to extort her and R. Kelly, claiming, “They said, ‘Oh, I’ll put all your naked pictures all over the world. I’m going to ruin you, I’m going to ruin him. If he doesn’t send $20,000 to this bank account by Monday, oh, I’m gonna put everything out there, and then $10,000 after that.’ You’re trying to solicit me like I’m some fucking ho. I’m not, I’m your child.”
King added that Kelly’s team told her that the singer would not be in the room for the interview. “After the interview started, he was around the corner behind them,” King said. “But at points during the conversation he would cough very loudly so they were aware that he was there.”
Following the airing of the interview, Savage’s parents Tim and Jonjelyn denied receiving money from Kelly. “We have unequivocally denied allegations that the Savage family received money from Robert Kelly,” the couple’s lawyer, Gerald Griggs, said in a statement. “At no point was money given to the Savage family, discussed with the Savage family, requested by the Savage family or offered to the Savage family. In fact, we’ve asked Mr. Kelly several times to produce receipts of such transaction. My client, Tim Savage, has never met Robert Kelly. We provided proof yesterday in the form of plane tickets purchased by Mr. Kelly for only Joycelyn and her mother, Jonjelyn, to speak with him about producing Joycelyn’s album.”
Griggs also addressed King’s post-interview note that Kelly was in the room during her interview with Clary and Savage. “Furthermore, Gayle King stated that the interviews, like the police wellness checks, were conducted in the presence of Robert Kelly,” Griggs said. “I don’t know how else to ensure that a lie holds up without the perpetrator in the room.”
Speaking with King, Kelly denied allegations that he lured Savage and Clary into a relationship after making promises of helping their singing careers. Instead, the singer claimed it was Savage’s mother who first approached him in an effort to further her daughter’s career. While Kelly said he didn’t see any talent in Savage, he said this was why they were able to form a relationship: “I’m not with her for her talent. When I saw her onstage nothing about her told me she sings… It’s cause she was beautiful.”
The Savage family’s attempts to reconnect with their daughter were featured in Surviving R. Kelly and her parents have long claimed that Kelly brainwashed their daughter into staying with them. After part one of Kelly’s interview aired yesterday, Savage phoned her parents and spoke to them for the first time since 2017. In a video of the phone call, Savage appeared to recite a scripted message, ostensibly only breaking when she spoke with her little sister.
An extended version of King’s interview with Kelly is set to air on CBS Friday March 8th at 8 p.m. ET/PT