A BuzzFeed report reveals that R&B singer R Kelly has been brainwashing women in what the parents of the victims describe as a ‘cult’. The five unnamed women involved allegedly got close to Kelly in an attempt to develop their musical careers.
One unnamed parent told BuzzFeed that she was initially excited that her 19-year-old daughter’s music career was going to make a major leap forward thanks to Kelly, but wasn’t aware that two years later, they’d be fighting for their daughter to return home.
“It was as if she was brainwashed. She looked like a prisoner — it was horrible,” the parent said. “I hugged and hugged her. But she just kept saying she’s in love and Kelly is the one who cares for her. I don’t know what to do. I hope that if I get her back, I can get her treatment for victims of cults. They can reprogramme her. But I wish I could have stopped it from happening.”
Three former female acquaintances of the singer, Cheryl Mack, Kitti Jones and Asante McGee supported the parents’ claims and described Kelly as a controlling person who dictates every aspect of their lives; from what they eat to when they shower and what they wear.
Mack reportedly said: “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.”
McGee added that a teenager was “head over heels” in love with Kelly, but that he punished her: “He left her on the tour bus for, like, three days and she was not allowed to come out. He said she didn’t do her homework – that’s why she was punished – which was very confusing, because she had just graduated from high school over the summer.”
The teenager’s parents who were also interviewed by DeRogatis on BuzzFeed, say they are no longer able to contact her:
“We’ve had deaths in the family and birthdays and I haven’t heard from her. She hasn’t been here for any of it. I didn’t even hear from her on Mother’s Day. All I want to do is bring her home.” The parents say that after her older sister went to Kelly’s recording studio, she was allegedly involved in an altercation with a member of his entourage.
One of the women, Joycelyn Savage (21), posted a video denying she was in a cult. “I’m in a happy place in my life. I’m not being brainwashed or anything like that,” she said.
Kelly’s lawyer, Linda Mensch, said in a statement: “Robert Kelly is both alarmed and disturbed at the recent revelations attributed to him. Mr Kelly unequivocally denies such allegations.”
This is not the first time the 50-year-old has found himself entangled in a scandal. Kelly has faced previous accusations of sexual misconduct, child pornography and underage sex – but was never found guilty.