In his first interview since being arrested on 10 counts of aggravated sexual assault (three of the four alleged victims were underage at the time), R. Kelly sat down with CBS This Morning’s Gayle King in a highly-charged interview which aired early Wednesday morning.
Expressing surprise that Kelly agreed to do this interview, King asked the R&B singer which of the several accusations lobbed against him hurt the most.
“Oh my God. Umm—all of them, 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,” Kelly responded. “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 has pleaded not guilty to all 10 counts leveled against him by Chicago prosecutors. Though this particular case is Chicago-based, federal and state authorities in New York and Illinois (at least) are reportedly investigating a variety of allegations.
Additionally, King discussed the specific cases of 23-year-old Jocelyn Savage and 21-year-old Azriel Clary.
Kelly admitted he’s in relationships with several women he calls his “girlfriends.” When King pressed about the suspiciously wide age gap between him and his girlfriends, Kelly claimed to love “all women.”
“Have you broken any laws when it comes to women?” King asked.
“Absolutely not,” Kelly responded, without hesitation.
Of course, the reason Kelly is in the spotlight once again, after facing many of the same charges in 2008, can be attributed to Lifetime’s visceral documentary Surviving R. Kelly.
As King rattled off names of people who added commentary in the documentary—Kitti Jones, Lisa Van Allen, Lizette Martinez, Jurong DePace, Faith Rodgers, and Asante McGee—Kelly responded with, “They are lying on me.” In a wild analogy, Kelly claimed the accusations were akin to being “assassinated” and “buried alive.”
Then, came the most tense part of the interview: when King asked about the alleged sex cult. In the six-part documentary, Kelly was accused of holding many women and young girls against their will.
“That’s stupid! Use your common sense. Forget the blogs, forget how you feel about me,” he exclaimed. “Hate me if you want to, love me if you want. But just use your common sense. How stupid would it be for me, with my crazy past and what I’ve been through—oh right, now I just think I have to be monster, and hold girls against their will, chain them up in my basement, and don’t let them eat, don’t let them out, unless they need some shoes down the street from their uncle!”
The exchange escalated to the point where Kelly became highly exasperated and defiantly stood over King. He eventually had to be restrained.
“You all quit playing!” the 52-year-old singer screamed. “Quit playing! I didn’t do this stuff! This is not me! I’m fighting for my fucking life! Y’all killing me with this shit!” Kelly said, standing up. “I gave you 30 years of my fucking career!”
Throughout the explosive and tearful outburst, the look on King’s firmly calm face in response to his theatrics said it all. But Twitter said it explicitly—he’s a fucking lie.
When clips were released on Tuesday night (the interview went down on Tuesday), they quickly became a trending topic on the popular social media platform.
“I believe I can cry!” Facebook user Stephen Charles (who inspired this headline after giving permission to be quoted in this article) posted in jest.
Kelly eventually apologized for the outburst, citing how “emotional” he was since it was “the first time [he] was able to say something.”
Attorney Michael Avenatti, who is representing several victims in this ongoing case, also took to Twitter on Tuesday night to express his reaction to the clips.
“You can’t double jeopardy me like that. It’s not fair. When you beat your case, you beat your case,” said Kelly, who apparently watched the film Double Jeopardy once and is suddenly an expert on how the legal concept works. To be clear: Kelly was acquitted on 14 counts of child pornography in 2008.
Avenatti also released a statement on behalf of Alice and Angelo Clary, the parents of Azriel, on Wednesday.
In an interview with The Roe Conn Show, Avenatti said Kelly is “going to die in prison as he rightfully should.”