The R&B singer — who is facing 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse involving three minors — broke his silence in an explosive interview where he denied the claims on ‘CBS This Morning.’ “I’m not a devil and by no means am I a monster,” he says.
R. Kelly broke his silence on the sexual abuse charges he is facing Wednesday. The R&B singer sat down with CBS This Morning‘s Gayle King for nearly 80 minutes Tuesday and the result is an explosive interview that saw Kelly growing combative and so emotionally overwhelmed while defending himself — at one point standing and screaming into the camera — that King had to temporarily pause the interview.
“I’m very tired of all the lies. I’ve been hearing things and seeing things on the blogs and I’m just tired,” he told King when the cameras started rolling, explaining why he has decided to speak out.
King asked him which lies disturbed him the most.
“Oh my God. Um — all of them,” he said, then rattled off: “Got little girls trapped in the basement, helicopters over my house trying to rescue someone that doesn’t need rescuing because they’re not in my house. Handcuffing people, starving people. I have a harem, what you call it — a cult. I don’t even really know what a cult is. But I know I don’t have one.”
Kelly, whose legal name is Robert Kelly, has been charged with 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse, with three of the four victims being underage at the time of the alleged assaults, according to Chicago Police. He has pleaded not guilty and could face up to 70 years. Kelly is due back in court March 22.
The Grammy-winning artist has been under scrutiny for more than a decade. Kelly was previously arrested in 2002 for his alleged involvement in a child pornography tape — with a girl as young as 13 — and was acquitted when the case went to trial six years later. Lifetime’s recent six-part docuseries Surviving R. Kelly explored that scandal in particular, along with sexual abuse allegations from a number of women, including Kelly’s ex-wife Andrea Lee, when it released to record numbers for the network in early January.
The harrowing claims, which included allegations of sexual abuse against underage girls and Kelly allegedly holding women against their will in a so-called sex cult, gave rise to the #MuteRKelly campaign and Kelly’s career has been stalled in the months since; his Sony label dropped him ahead of his arrest.
Prosecutors in Chicago, New York and Atlanta were actively seeking information about Kelly in light of the accusations made in Surviving R. Kelly, and CBS News reports that federal and state authorities in New York and Illinois are now investigating a variety of allegations.
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