CHICAGO (CBS) — Chicago police officers responded to a South Side nightclub where singer R. Kelly was celebrating his 52nd birthday Wednesday night, amid renewed focus on sexual abuse allegations against the R&B superstar.
Police confirmed they responded to V75 Lounge, at 75th and Perry, and made contact with Kelly, but did not say why they went to the club. An unconfirmed police dispatch report indicated someone called 911 claiming there was an outstanding warrant. However, police said no one was arrested, and there is not an ongoing criminal investigation of Kelly.
The visit by police came just hours after police confirmed they conducted a “business check” at his West Loop recording studio.
“We have no criminal complaints from anyone about the location but we strongly urge anyone that may have information on potential criminal activity to please contact police,” CPD spokesman Tom Ahern stated in an email.
While Kelly was singing about not wanting to hurt anybody during his birthday party at the nightclub, activists gathered outside his West Side recording studio, marching for the young women they claim he sexually abused.
“They really wanted to send that message that they stand in solidarity with those young ladies,” said Kenyette Tisha Barnes, founder of the #MuteRKelly movement. “Most of these girls that he’s been with, he met, groomed at 16, 17 years old.”
Protesters urged legal action against Kelly, and a boycott of Kelly’s music, after women claimed they were sexually abused and mistreated by Kelly in the Lifetime documentary, Surviving R Kelly.
In some cases, the women say they were underage. In other cases, they say it took place in that very studio.
“As a mother of a young daughter, I can’t even tell you how upset I would be if it was my child,” protester Melanie Fitch said. “I feel compelled to do something.”
On Tuesday, Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx called for any R. Kelly sexual abuse victims to come forward, saying her office cannot investigate without the cooperation of victims and witnesses.
R. Kelly’s attorney, Stephen Greenberg, called Foxx’s request absurd. He said Foxx shouldn’t be soliciting cases. However, the state’s attorney’s office has said it has received calls about R. Kelly since Foxx’s request, and is following up on those calls. CBS 2 has confirmed Foxx’s office has been contacted at least twice about R. Kelly
Prosecutors in Atlanta also are looking into sexual abuse allegations against Kelly.
The protest at Kelly’s recording studio took place two days after an eviction order for the space was issued against Kelly, stemming from this lawsuit claiming he owes more than $79,000 in back rent. The eviction order has not yet been delivered to the Cook County Sheriff’s office for enforcement, a process which can take weeks.
“It is surreal. It’s the combination of of a lot of hard work and activism over the years,” #MuteRKelly co-founder Kenyette Tisha Barnes said.
The national #MuteRKelly movement began in 2017. Barnes said women’s stories can no longer be ignored, brushing off Kelly’s attorney’s claims the singer has done nothing illegal.
Meantime, singer Lady Gaga has apologized for collaborating with Kelly in 2013 when they recorded the duet “Do What U Want (With My Body).” Gaga said she worked with Kelly during a “dark time” in her life as a victim of sexual assault.
She said she should have sought therapy or other help instead. Gaga said she will not work with Kelly again.