R. Kelly once again dismissed the "cult" allegations that surfaced earlier in July, which accused the R&B singer of obsessively controlling several women through physical and verbal abuse. In a fuzzy video circulating via social media, Kelly blasted the accusations as "a bunch of crap," promising fans that he will uphold his U.S. tour dates.
A thorough Buzzfeed report first detailed the allegations against Kelly by the families of two women. The musician allegedly "brainwashed" and manipulated six women into living on his properties in Atlanta and Chicago, where he dictates their sexual encounters, clothing, food and bathing and sleeping habits.
The "Trapped in a Closet" singer allegedly enforces a series of strict "rules" – and, if disobeyed, punishments. According to the report, Kelly issues his companions new cell phones and prohibits them from contacting their parents.
One woman formerly linked to Kelly's entourage confirmed the report, stating, "You have to ask for food. You have to ask to go use the bathroom … [Kelly] is a master at mind control. ... He is a puppet master." Asanta McGhee, one of the entertainer's former employees, added, "R. Kelly is the sweetest person you will ever want to meet. But Robert is the devil," referencing his birth name, Robert Kelly.
Following Buzzfeed's original report, a woman claiming to be a former member of Kelly's inner circle confirmed many of the story's details to Jezebel. The unnamed source said the musician subjected "five or six women" to physical, sexual and psychological control, including recording sexual activity. But she added that all the women are above the age of legal consent and technically "can leave."
Kelly's lawyer Linda Mensch said in a statement that the singer was "alarmed and disturbed" by the allegations, which he "unequivocally denies." The attorney added that Kelly will "work diligently and forcibly to pursue his accusers and clear his name."
Meanwhile, Kelly appears to be proceeding with his ongoing North American tour, which stretches through early October. He is scheduled to perform next on Friday, July 28th in Virginia Beach, Virginia.
Watch a timeline of accusations, lawsuits and charges against R. Kelly, from marrying 15-year-old Aaliyah to new allegations leading a "cult."