R. Kelly reacted effusively to questions about past allegations of sexual misconduct on Monday in an interview with Huffington Post. Over a decade ago, the singer was accused of having sex with a minor but was later acquitted. At one point in the HuffPostLive broadcast, the interviewer read a fan-submitted tweet that hinted at the claims and asked him, “What do you say to fans who are conflicted [about your past]?” Kelly responded, after directing his reply to the interviewer, “I’d say, ‘Fuck that.’ I’m a man that believes what I see. And everywhere I go, from malls to restaurants to sold-out tours … everywhere I’ve been, I get nothing but love.
“When I start to hear what I just heard you sit here and say to me when I step on that stage … from 20,000 to 50,000 fans, I will never show up to that venue or any other venue again,” the singer continued. “But until then, I’m going to continue to do R. Kelly. I’m not perfect, but I’m perfectly me.”
The topic sparked a tense back-and-forth for another 10 minutes until the singer left mid-interview, saying he was insulted and disrespected by the host’s line of questioning.
The accusations date back to 2000, when an exposé detailing Kelly’s alleged relations with high-school students came out in the Chicago Sun-Times. Then Kelly found himself at the center of a highly publicized child pornography case after a video surfaced of the singer allegedly having sex with a girl whom prosecutors claimed to be as young as 13. In 2008, the singer was acquitted on all charges.
Rolling Stone recently caught up with the singer-songwriter before the release of his 13th album, The Buffet. At Jungle City Studios in New York, Kelly expressed excitement for the new project and was ready for the deeply personal tracks to hit the airwaves. “I am what I am; I’m a writer,” he said. “Every one of my hits was something that was a reality: ‘I Believe I Can Fly’ all the way down to ‘Ignition.’ … It’s just a real song.”