CHICAGO (CBS) — Breaking his silence nearly two weeks after his arrest on sexual abuse charges, singer R. Kelly said all of his accusers are lying, and trying to make him out to be “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,” Kelly told “CBS This Morning” anchor Gayle King.
Meantime, Kelly appeared before a judge on Wednesday, for a child support case in which he owes more than $190,000.
Under terms of his 2009 divorce, Kelly must pay $20,000 a month in child support, but stopped making the required payments in the spring. He now owes $194,000, and must pay $161,663 to his ex-wife by 10 a.m. Wednesday, or risk going to jail.
A hearing in his child support case has been scheduled for 2 p.m. at the Daley Center courthouse.
In his first public comments since his arrest last month, Kelly angrily denied charges that he sexually abused four people, including three teenage girls.
At times yelling and crying, Kelly told King, “I didn’t do this stuff! This is not me. I am fighting for my f—–g life!”
He did not discuss the child support case, but did address allegations in the recent documentary “Surviving R. Kelly” that he has held women against their will and ran a “sex cult.”
A defiant Kelly said all of the women accusing him of physical and sexual abuse are lying.
“I’m very tired of all of the lies. I’ve been hearing things, and you know, and seeing things on the blogs, and you know, you know, I’m just tired,” Kelly said.
“What are the lies that you’re hearing that disturb you most?” King asked.
“Oh my God. Um — 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,” he said, adding, “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.”
“How stupid would I be to do that!” he said, tears streaming down his face during the 80-minute interview.
Then, looking into and pointing at the camera he said, “That’s stupid! Use your common sense. Forget how you feel about me. Hate me if you want to. Love me if you want. Just use your common sense. How stupid would it it be for me, with my crazy past and what I have been through, now I need to be a monster and hold girls against their will and chain them in my basement and don’t let them eat?
“Stop it! You all quit playin.”
Social media erupted over Kelly’s outburst, with many saying it showed an overly controlling artist losing control. His attorney sees it differently.
“I thought he did great. You know, he’s got a lot to say. Unfortunately, in today’s age, people can just go on any platform and attack you, and he feels like he needs to defend himself,” attorney Steve Greenberg said.
Kelly also addressed his relationship with two young women who live with him at his home in Chicago: 23-year-old Joycelyn Savage, and 21-year-old Azriel Clary. The singer said he’s in a loving relationship with the two women. Their families say Savage and Clary have been brainwashed and are being held as virtual prisoners.
Kelly said that’s a lie, and that it really boils down to money.
“How come it was okay for me to see them until they wasn’t getting no money from me? Why would you take your daughter – if I’m going to take my daughter and she’s 19 years old to a 49-year-old icon, whatever, celebrity or R. Kelly concert or whoever it is, I’m not going to put her on the stage and leave her. I’m going to take her to the concert. Their father is more into my music and know about my music than they do,” Kelly said.
Gayle King also spoke with the two young women who live with Kelly. They insisted they’re with him of their own free will, and that their parents and the media have it all wrong.
“I’m crying because you guys don’t know the truth. You guys believe in some f*****g facade that our parents are saying. This is all f*****g lies for money, and if you can’t see that, you’re ignorant and you’re stupid,” Clary said.
Savage’s family spoke out a few hours after the Kelly interview aired, saying they haven’t heard from her in two years. They claimed Kelly is controlling her.
Savage’s sister said, if everything’s really okay, Joycelyn would have called home by now.
“I know for a fact my sister is not okay. I know for a fact R. Kelly is mentally destroying her, and I just want her home, and I know that he has put a lot of things in her head that make her think that the world – not just the family, but the world – is out to get her, which is not true,” Jailyn Savage said. “I just want her home, and safe, and I want to know that she’s okay.”
Kelly has been charged with 10 counts of aggravated sexual abuse involving four victims, three of them underage girls. Kelly has pleaded not guilty to 10 counts. His bond was set at $1 million by Judge John F. Lyke Jr. He spent three days in jail before posting the required $100,000.
Kelly has been ordered not to have any contact with any of the alleged victims, witnesses or anyone under the age of 18. He is due back in court on March 22.
The alleged abuse goes back 20 years, spanning from 1998 to 2010.
The charges identify the victims only by initials and the dates of the alleged abuse:
• H.W. (13-16 years of age), victim of four counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse between May 26, 1998, and May 25, 1999;
• J.P. (13-16 years of age), victim of three counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse between May 1, 2009, and Jan. 31, 2010;
• R.L. (13-16 years of age), victim of two counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse between Sept. 26, 1998, and Sept. 25, 2001;
• L.C. (no age given), victim of one count of aggravated criminal sexual abuse on Feb. 18, 2003.
Prosecutors have said the first victim, HW, was celebrating her 16th birthday when she met Kelly, who told his manager to give HW a business card. HW’s mother saw the encounter and told Kelly’s manager her daughter was 16 years old.
HW later took the business card from her mom’s purse. She called Kelly, who told her to take a cab to his Chicago studio. During that first sexual encounter on May 26, 1998, Kelly had difficulty maintaining an erection and penetrated the victim orally and vaginally. HW was then given a large sum of money, much more than the cost of the cab fare.
Prosecutors said the encounters continued until May 1999.
The second victim, JP, met Kelly after a court hearing for Kelly’s 2008 child pornography trial and asked for his autograph. She was later invited to his house in Olympia Fields, and Kelly had sex with the victim from May 2009 through Jan. 31, 2010.
During those encounters, Kelly would spit, slap and choke her. She was also under the age of 16.
The victim provided a shirt with semen to police, and a test found the DNA was a match for Kelly.
A third victim, RL, had sex when she was 14 at Kelly’s house in Olympia Fields. A witness was asked to take sex tapes of the victim and Kelly. The witness watched the tapes and turned them over to the state’s attorney’s office. Kelly and the victim had sexual encounters between Sept. 26, 1998 and Sept. 25, 2001. The video was not the same as the one at the center of Kelly’s 2008 child pornography trial, prosecutors said.
The fourth victim, LC, was an adult who worked for Kelly as a hair dresser. On Feb. 18, 2008, Kelly walked into a room in his Chicago studio and said he “wanted his head massaged.” His pants were down and he pointed to his penis. When the woman resisted, Kelly masturbated, ejaculated and spit on her. A semen sample tested was a DNA match to Kelly, prosecutors said.
The singer has faced intense scrutiny for more than a decade. It was reignited in January after the six-part Lifetime docuseries “Surviving R. Kelly” featured interviews with seven accusers and former members of his inner circle. They all said Kelly preys on vulnerable women and young girls.
In 2008, Kelly was acquitted of child pornography charges in Cook County, tied to a videotape of him allegedly having sex with an underage girl. It took six years from the time Kelly was charged with the offense to the end of the trial.
It took the jury less than a day to deliberate.
Kelly said people are using that past case against him now.
“Old rumors, new rumors, future rumors. Not true!” he said.
“You can’t double jeopardy me. That’s not fair. When you beat your case, you beat your case,” he said, referring the the acquittal.
Kelly denied breaking any laws when it comes to women.
“Surviving R. Kelly” filmmakers interviewed more than 50 people, including the singer’s ex-wife, numerous women, their family members and his former tour manager who claimed R. Kelly abused them.
“Are you saying everybody in that documentary was not telling the truth about you? Everybody?” King asked.
“If you really look at that documentary, which I’m sure you have –”
“I have,” King said.
“— everybody says something bad about me. Nobody said nothin’ good,” Kelly said. “They was 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.”
“I’m gonna name the names,” King said. “Andrea Kelly, your ex-wife. Kitti Jones, Lisa Van Allen, Lizette Martinez, Jurong DePace, Faith Rodgers, Asante McGee. You’re saying everything they said in that documentary about you is not true?”
“They are lying on me,” Kelly said.
“Why would these women say the same thing about you? That you are controlling, that you are abusive, that you tell women when to eat, when to go to the bathroom, when they can sleep, where they can dress?” King said. “Why would all these women tell these different stories about you if they were not true and they don’t know each other? That defies logic to me.”
“Right. Right. Until you hear the explanation. You can start a rumor on a guy like me or a celebrity just like that,” Kelly said. “All you have to do is push a button on your phone and say ‘so and so did this to me, R. Kelly did this to me’, and if you get any traction from that, if you’re able to write a book from that, if you’re able to get a reality show… then any girl that I had a relationship in the past that it just didn’t work out, she can come and say the same exact thing.”
“Are you blaming this on social media?” King asked.
“I’m talking about the power of social media,” Kelly said.
You can see more of Kelly’s interview on “CBS This Morning” at 7 a.m. on Wednesday.