R'n'b singer R. Kelly is under suspicion of forming a sex cult and holding women against their will at locations in Chicago and Atlanta.
The allegations against the artist come via a Buzzfeed News article, where interviews with Cheryl Mack, Kitti Jones, and Asante McGee, former members of his inner circle, as well as interviews with worried parents, reveal disturbing accounts of six women that were recruited by Kelly and are currently residing at his rented properties.
Kelly apparently controls everything these women do, "from what they eat, how they dress, when they bathe, when they sleep, and how they engage in sexual encounters that he records."
The women who are suspected of being held include a 31-year-old “den mother” who “trained” newcomers on how Kelly liked to be pleasured sexually, a 25-year-old woman who's been part of Kelly's crew for seven years, a 19-year-old model who's been photographed with Kelly in public and named on gossip sites, a 26-year-old Atlanta songwriter who has known Kelly since 2009 and an 18-year-old singer from Florida who is said to be Kelly's “favorite -- his number one girl.”
The article gives further detail of what these women have to put up with. “Women who live with Kelly, who he calls his ‘babies', are required to call him ‘Daddy’ and must ask his permission to leave the Chicago recording studio or their assigned rooms in the ‘guest house’ Kelly rents near his own rented mansion in suburban Atlanta.”
Asante McGee gave an account of when she witnessed Kelly punish one of the current captives: “He left [the Florida woman] on the [tour] bus for, like, three days and she was not allowed to come out. He said she didn’t do her homework — that’s why she was punished — which was very confusing, because she had just graduated [high school] over the summer.”
One mother of a woman who is living with Kelly says she last saw her daughter in December 2016.
“It was as if she was brainwashed. [She] looked like a prisoner — it was horrible. I hugged her and hugged her. But she just kept saying she’s in love and [Kelly] is the one who cares for her.”
The legal ramifications Kelly could face for these recent allegations are cloudy at the moment, as consenting adults can take part in any relationship, even if it is "nontraditional.” All the women in Kelly's circle are said to be of legal age.