R&B superstar R. Kelly has been struggling for years with allegations of sexual impropriety. Recently, several big-name acts have very publicly distanced themselves from the work they did with the singer and producer. And, now, two more women have come forward to accuse Kelly of engaging in sexual acts with one of them when they were under age. Some reports also allege that Kelly took advantage of one of the girls while she was under the influence of drugs and alcohol. The women came forward with their legal counsel, Gloria Allred, for the first time recently, their allegations coming on the heels of the popular Lifetime docu-series, “Surviving R. Kelly,” which brought new scrutiny to old allegations against the singer.
Allred’s clients told the media they were 15 and 16 respectively when they attended a concert featuring R. Kelly and LL Cool J. The pair appeared poised and believable, as they described going to what they thought was a hotel after party. According to their narrative, though, they were escorted to Kelly’s hotel room by one of his people.
One of the women said she complied – though she could not legally consent – with Kelly’s requests because she was “starstruck” and “under the influence.” She added that, thinking back on the incident now, she “feels hurt” and “wants justice for anyone that was hurt or violated…” Allred described her clients as “brave” for coming out and sharing their story, even though the events at the time were embarrassing.
These statements give Kelly critics even more ammunition to lob at the singer, and, based on related reports, it seems like this may just be the beginning of another round of allegations against the singer. Allred reportedly has other clients who claim to have been abused by Kelly.
In response, Kelly’s attorney claims his client “never knowingly” engaged in sexual activity with an underage woman. Kelly has also publicly denied similar claims multiple times. In court on similar charges in the past, Kelly was acquitted, but that verdict has not stopped people from deciding “where there’s smoke, there’s fire…”
And, regardless of the legal outcome, this is the question that may play a make or break role in Kelly’s continued career. Who and what do his fans and other music consumers and collaborators really believe? That’s a huge factor, because fan “forgiveness” can equal product marketability. If Kelly is not convicted, he will still need to convince enough of his fans that this latest allegations, as well as others that, Allred says, may come out, are all false.
Sitrick PR has represented R. Kelly in the past. No word on what PR firm is today representing him.