R. Kelly - Once R&B legend, R. Kelly, is back in the news. In January 2019, Lifetime premiered a several part show called Surviving R. Kelly that reviewed his alleged mental and physical abuse of women, including minors. As we note in our Industry Review of the Music Industry, R. Kelly is reported to have repeatedly mentally and physically abused young talent for his own personal sexual gain, keeping them captive in a cult-like environment and allegedly dictating every aspect of their lives and may be continuing to do so today. [Source: Janice Williams, “R. Kelly’s Alleged Victims: A Timeline of Sexual Misconduct Allegations Against the R&B Singer.” Newsweek. Published online October 24, 2017.]
After the documentary aired, TMZ reported that the Fulton County District Attorney’s office opened an investigation and reached out to survivors from the Lifetime premier. R. Kelly was charged with 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse (three of the victims were minors at the time of the alleged events) and was briefly jailed for missing child support payments. In a more bizarre twist of events, after being charged, R. Kelly appeared in his first interview with CBS’s Gayle King about his new legal troubles, where he appeared emotionally distraught, combative and angry, portraying himself as the victim of a social media smear campaign. The interview was notably parodied on “Saturday Night Live.” To make things even worse for R. Kelly, as of May 31, he is now facing 11 new counts, four of which are for aggravated criminal sexual assault—a Class X felony that carries a sentence of up to 30 years—involving alleged forced sexual encounters with a minor in 2010.