Maybe his wings are finally being clipped.
Senior members of R. Kelly’s entourage are reportedly deserting the singer following revelations made in the BBC documentary R Kelly: Sex, Girls and Videotapes, which alleges Kelly kept young women as “sex pets.” It screened in the U.K. last month and will be available globally this weekend.
The BBC reports that two high-profile women have already quit his team, and claims that other staff members are also planning their exits.
The two women who have deserted Kelly are Linda Mensch, the lawyer who went to bat for him during 2017’s run of allegations about the singer running a “sex cult,” and Diana Copeland, his executive assistant of more than 10 years.
The resignations come after a year of allegations claiming R. Kelly manipulated naïve young women into joining a harem, where they led heavily controlled lives.
Jim DeRogatis, the reporter who was the first to write about R. Kelly’s alleged relationships, reported that the singer was holding young women prisoner in a “cult” at his homes in Georgia and Illinois. All the women were over the age of consent and Kelly denied any wrongdoing.
Kelly’s history of relationships with young women and girls has been well documented by The Daily Beast and goes back to 1994, when he wrote and produced “Age Ain’t Nothin But a Number” for the singer Aaliyah, who he then married, although she was only 15.
There have been numerous civil suits settled, as well as a sensational criminal trial in which he was acquitted on 14 counts of child pornography.
In the BBC Three film, which will be broadcast on the BBC’s global networks this weekend, former girlfriend Kitti Jones claimed R Kelly groomed a girl from the age of 14. Jones, who previously claimed that she was beaten, starved, and forced to have sex with other women while living in the singer’s recording studio compound, confirmed she was part of R Kelly’s “sex dungeon” where she claims she was forced to have sex with him and other people on “more than 10” occasions.
She said Kelly, who denies all the claims, told her that he had been “training” one of the girls from the age of 14 to be one of his “pets.”
Jones said, “I saw that this girl was dressed like me, that she was saying the things I’d say, and her mannerisms were like mine. That’s when it clicked in my head that he had been grooming me to become one of his pets, too. He calls them his pets.”
New allegations have arisen against Kelly in recent days. Dallas police have said they are investigating allegations that the singer “knowingly and intentionally” gave a woman herpes without her knowledge during their 11-month relationship. The woman allegedly met the singer backstage at one of his concerts, and was then “groomed... over the next several months” to join his sex cult.
A representative told The Washington Post that Kelly “categorically denies all claims and allegations” from the complaint.
R Kelly: Sex, Girls and Videotapes is available in the U.K. now on the BBC iPlayer.