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Inside the 'cult' of R. Kelly: 'Grooming, sex training, brainwashing and beatings'

Irish Mirror logoIrish Mirror 6 days ago Irishmirror.ie
R. Kelly wearing sunglasses: R Kelly denies all the allegations against him © REUTERS R Kelly denies all the allegations against him

R. Kelly has groomed, imprisoned and 'trained' numerous young and often vulnerable women to be his sex slaves, a harrowing docu-series has claimed.

The 52-year-old rapper has set up a 'cult' of young women - largely picked out of the crowd at his shows - who he abuses and keeps hostage for his own sexual gratification, according to TV series Surviving R. Kelly, which premiered in the US last week.

R. Kelly - real name Robert Sylvester Kelly - threatened to sue Lifetime if it aired the show and denies all accusations.

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Chillingly dubbed The Pied Piper of R&B, he is now being investigated by police in Georgia and Atlanta, where he has homes.

a man wearing glasses and smiling at the camera © Provided by Trinity Mirror Shared Services Limited

From keeping the women locked up with only a bucket to use as a toilet to forcing them to perform degrading and depraved group sex acts, here's how his alleged victims have described life in the 'cult'.

His 'pet sex slave'

Divorced single mum, DJ Kitti Jones, claims she was groomed, imprisoned and sexually abused by the rapper after they met at one of his shows in June 2011.

On their first meeting, she claims he barged through the door of her hotel room and masturbated on the sofa before 'training' her to give oral sex.

"He was like a drill sergeant even when he was pleasuring me. He was telling me how to bend my back or move my leg here. I'm like, 'Why is he directing it like this?' It was very uncomfortable. But he tried to make me feel special about [the trip]. Like, 'If I didn't really like you, I wouldn't have done that, and I wouldn't even be wasting my time flying you out, and I respect you,'" she told Rolling Stone in 2017.

Watch: "Survivng R Kelly: the docuseries - trailer" (Indy 100)

He also allegedly dropped disturbing hints about mysterious girls he had 'raised', and told Kitti he would only introduce her when she was 'mentally ready'.

According to Kitti, he convinced her to quit work and move into his Chicago apartment by offering to pay double her salary.

And once there she says she was banned from talking and looking at his male employees; forced to text Kelly her every movement and to wear baggy sweatpants when out so as not to look attractive.

a person standing in front of a window © Credits: Kitti Jones/Instagram

Their relationship apparently turned violent when she confronted Kelly about the video at the centre of his 2008 child pornography trial, which allegedly showed him urinating into the mouth of a 14-year-old.

Kelly was acquitted on all charges because the identity of the female could not be established, and Kitti claimed he “turned into a monster” when she brought it up - kicking and slapping her in the first of an alleged 10 assaults in the first year alone.

Gallery: R. Kelly through the years (USA Today)


In 2013 he moved her out of his main home and into a flat attached to his recording studio in Trump Towers to make way for what she now believes was a new girlfriend.

There she says she was confined to her room and ordered to text his staff if she needed food or the toilet. Kelly would allegedly take her phone away as punishment, with Kitti claiming she once went two and a half days without eating.

Unbeknown to her at that point, other girls were also apparently being held under similar conditions in different rooms of the apartment.

a man wearing sunglasses: Singer R. Kelly performs onstage during the 2013 BET Awards © Credits: Getty Singer R. Kelly performs onstage during the 2013 BET Awards

The women he 'raised'

The darkest chapter of Kitti's alleged ordeal began in March 2013, when Kelly allegedly brought in a naked woman and ordered her to perform oral sex on Kitti, telling her, "I raised her. I've trained this b**ch. This is my pet.’"

From then on, Kitti claims he forced her to have sex with women he would fly in, and that she would be punished if she refused. 

She vomited after performing oral sex on one of his girlfriends because she felt so demeaned, but said the worst moment was when Kelly allegedly urinated on two women while she and them performed a sex act on him. 

According to the DJ, Kelly recorded everything and sometimes made her give him oral sex while he watched footage of other girls he’d forced to have sex on his iPad.

R. Kelly looking at the camera: Celebrity Mugshot Hall of Fame © Credits: WENN Celebrity Mugshot Hall of Fame

"It was just a game for him. He just went back and forth [on them] when he was peeing and told [another girlfriend] to clean it up afterwards. That was the worst that I've ever seen,” she said. 

Kelly’s rep has rubbished Kitti’s claims that the sex and day-to-day running of their two-year relationship was anything other than consensual. 

The spokesperson said: "Mr. Kelly is aware of the repeated and now evolving claims of [Ms. Jones]. It is unfortunate that Ms. Jones, after public statements to the contrary, is now attempting to portray a relationship history with Mr. Kelly as anything other than consensual involvement between two adults. 

"As stated previously, Mr. Kelly does not control the decision-making or force the actions of any other human being, including Ms. Jones, by her own admission. Any claim of wrongdoing of any kind or of mistreatment of any woman by him is false, ill-motived and defamatory.”

a close up of a person wearing glasses and smiling at the camera © Credits: LifeTime

His 'boy toy'

Another alleged victim is Dominique Gardner, who was a braces-wearing teen before she met R. Kelly in 2009.

By the time her mother, Michelle Kramer, managed to track her down in the docu-series, Kelly had allegedly singled her out to become his 'boy toy', shaving her hair and dressing her in boys clothes.

"She’s a little tomboyish, and Robert plays on that, so he has molded her into the boy he wants her to be," a former employee said.

a boy wearing a hat © Credits: LifeTime

"So he’s had her shave all her hair off, he has her carry herself like a boy. He’s even had her dress in boy clothes and paint a beard and a mustache on, to look like a boy. He treats her like his boy toy."

The series saw Michelle rescue Dominique from a hotel, only for her daughter to return to Kelly three days later. She is now back at home with her mum.

The ones who have been 'brainwashed'

a woman taking a selfie © Credits: Facebook

Joycelyn Savage's parents haven't seen her for two years, and believe Kelly has turned her into one of his alleged 'sex slaves' and is holding her against her will. 

But in July 2017 a video of her was released, in which she refused to give her whereabouts but insisted, “I am in a happy place with my life... I’m not being brainwashed or anything like that." 

A warrant has since been issued for the arrest of Kelly's former manager, James Manson, after Joycelyn's dad Timothy accused Manson of threatening the family.

According to a former employee, Kelly maintains power over his alleged victims by forcing them to incriminated themselves in made-up statements.

“He does make the girls write statements with false accusations against themselves, either saying that they’ve stole something from them or that their parents have stolen something from them or even that the parents tried to bribe him, or something of that sort," the ex-staff member said.

a person standing next to a forest © Credits: The Washington Post/Getty Images

The ones who got away

Lizzette Martinez met Kelly in a shopping mall in Atlanta when she was 17, and claims she lost her virginity to him after he got her drunk for the first time.    

Soon after, she says he began intimidating her, allegedly warning, "I have my boys following you and know everything you’re doing.”   

His ex-wife Drea Kelly auditioned to be one of his back-up dancers when she was 19. He later married her in secret before allegedly banning her from talking to anyone and keeping her locked up in their home.

She eventually escaped with their three children.

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