R. Kelly gave an emotional and explosive talk, defending his innocence in his first interview since being charged with sexual abuse.
In his first televised interview since his arrest, R. Kelly devolved into hysterics during an intense interview with Gayle King on “CBS This Morning,” screaming and crying as he emphatically maintained his innocence and claimed his accusers were lying.
“Thirty years of my career and you try to kill me?” he said, addressing the public as he stood over King in tears. “This isn’t about music; I’m trying to have a relationship with my kids and I can’t do it.”
Kelly’s interview comes less than two weeks after he was arrested and charged with 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse
“I’ve been assassinated; I’ve been buried alive. But I’m alive,” he said.
In the interview, King asked Kelly about the reports that he held women against their will in a “sex cult”-like environment.
“I don’t really know what a cult is but I don’t have one,” Kelly said, before criticizing the documentary “Surviving R. Kelly” that brought together many of his accusers. “If you really look at that documentary, which I’m sure you have … everybody says something bad about me. Nobody said nothing good. They were describing Lucifer. I’m not Lucifer. I’m a man. I make mistakes, but I’m not a devil, and by no means am I a monster.”
R&B star R. Kelly has been charged with 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse after nearly two decades of allegations.
The singer, 52, also complained that people have been resurfacing years-old misconduct allegations against him, including criminal charges on which he was acquitted.
“You can’t double-jeopardy me like that,” he said.
The second part of King and Kelly’s interview contained more shocking moments, in which King asks about Azriel Clary and Joycelyn Savage, two women who currently live with Kelly and whose parents have publicly claimed are being held against their will.
Kelly claimed that Clary and Savage’s parents “sold” their daughters to him, and that they were irresponsible when they brought their daughters to his concerts, where he first met both women.
“What kind of father, what kind of mother, would sell their daughter to a man?” he said. “How come it was OK for me to see them until they wasn’t getting no money from me? If I was gonna take my 19-year-old daughter to (the concert of) a 49-year-old icon, celebrity, whatever, I’m not gonna put her on the stage and leave her… Their fathers know more about my music than they do.”
Kelly also claimed Clary’s parents “wanted” him to have sex with her when she was underage, at their initial meeting when she was 17.
“They’re my girlfriends; we have a relationship; it’s real. I know guys who have five or six women, so don’t go there,” Kelly told King of Clary and Savage, before addressing claims that he targets younger or underage women. “I don’t look (for women) ‘much younger than me,’ I just look at legal…There are older men that like younger women, there are younger women who like older men. I’m an older man who likes all women.”
Kelly was indicted last month after nearly two decades of allegations, one failed criminal trial, a surging #MuteRKelly campaign, a breakup with his recording label, and the airing of the Kelly-damning docuseries, “Surviving R. Kelly,” in January.
After preview clips for the “CBS This Morning” sit-down aired Tuesday night, attorney Michael Avenatti, who discovered a sex tape cited in the singer’s indictment, exhorted his Twitter followers to “watch this please.”
“Importantly, R. Kelly does NOT deny sexually assaulting underage girls,” he tweeted Tuesday. “In fact, his answer demonstrates his guilt. He fails to understand that it doesn’t matter ‘how long ago’ it happened. And he also has no clue as to how ‘double jeopardy’ works.
In another tweet, Avenatti added that “R. Kelly’s tears are out of fear and despair.”
“He knows that after over two decades of sexually abusing underage girls, we blew this wide open and have him and his enablers dead to rights,” he wrote, adding the hashtag justice.
Contributing: Maria Puente, Cydney Henderson
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