Two woman – a former protégé of R. Kelly and the mother of one woman currently involved in his alleged "cult" – are the latest to step forward with accusations against the R&B singer.
Lizzette Martinez, 42, told Buzzfeed that she entered into a sexual relationship with Kelly when she was just a 17-year-old high school student in Miami; the age of consent in Florida is 18. Martinez's account of her time with the singer mirrors that of previous Kelly accusers: Martinez claimed that Kelly physically abused her five times in addition to pressuring her into sexual acts against her will after meeting the then-28-year-old Kelly in 1995.
"It was very controlled: what I wore, how I spoke, who my friends were, who I could bring around," Martinez said. "I did these things, and I felt like it was always — he was directing stuff. You know, it felt really weird. He was really overbearing… I'm like, 'I don't want to do that.' But he has a way with people, with women. He's just so controlling, so abusive."
Martinez added that, when she allegedly became pregnant with Kelly's child, "He wanted me to have an abortion." She says she ultimately miscarried. "I guess it was for the best. I didn't want to go through that abortion," Martinez, who was raised a devout Catholic, told Buzzfeed.
"My purpose of telling this story is this has gone on for years. This is not new, this 'cult' thing," Martinez said. "I feel like things happen for a reason. Unfortunately, this happened to me. Maybe I can be an example that you don’t have to go down the tubes. I've been through hell and back in my life, but I’ve always picked myself up."
A woman named Michelle also spoke to Buzzfeed about her daughter – called "N." in the report to protect her identity – who is currently a member of Kelly's alleged "cult." Michelle, last name withheld, is the latest parent to express concern over Kelly's relationship with their daughter; in each situation, the family nearly loses all contact with their child as the singer allegedly restricts their communication.
"Being silent is not the answer, so I said, ‘It’s time.' I want my child home," Michelle told Buzzfeed. "I don’t know what hold he has on her, but her last words to me was, 'Don't ever give up on me.'"
In a statement to the Associated Press Friday, Kelly said that he was "heartbroken" over "these false allegations" and blamed the media for perpetuating the accusations surrounding the singer. Kelly, who called himself "a God-fearing man, a son, a brother, and most importantly a father," blamed the media for their "attempt to distort my character and to destroy my legacy that I have worked so hard to build."
However, Kelly's management denied the authenticity of the statement, telling Rolling Stone, "The release is an erroneous, unauthorized statement that never was said by R. Kelly himself. Nor was it written or distributed by the R. Kelly management team. Mr. Kelly rejects the points the statement tries to make, and we deny all association with it. We are looking into what went wrong here." A rep for Kelly did not reply to a further request for clarification.
In April, Kelly's lawyer Linda Mensch, publicist Trevian Kutti and executive assistant Diane Copeland revealed they had all severed ties with the singer in the aftermath of the allegations against Kelly. Buzzfeed reports that two more people from Kelly's inner circle – his longtime musical accompanist DJ Phantom and accountant Joan Sullivan – had also split from the singer in recent months. "I didn't know then what I know now. He's a shitbag," Phantom said of Kelly.
Kelly's statement and then denial of the statement Friday follow his stance earlier this week after Time's Up called for a boycott of the singer. "We will vigorously resist this attempted public lynching of a black man who has made extraordinary contributions to our culture," Kelly's management said. "We understand criticizing a famous artist is a good way to draw attention to those goals – and in this case, it is unjust and off-target."