The American singer-songwriter R. Kelly has faced accusations of sexual misconduct and abuse for more than two decades.
These allegations were explored in Lifetime’s six-part documentary – Surviving R. Kelly – which was recently aired in the US over three nights, starting on January 4.
Each hour-long episode featured interviews with Kelly’s critics, including founder of the #MeToo movement Tarana Burke, and singer John Legend, as well as testimonials from women who accuse the singer of abuse; one of which was ex-wife Andrea Lee.
However, it’s been reported Kelly is now being criminally investigated in Georgia, US, because of the documentary series.
According to TMZ, sources connected to the case have said the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office has opened an investigation into allegations made against the singer throughout the series.
The probe was said to be launched over the past few days as a direct result of what was aired.
Investigators have reportedly been reaching out to several of the interviewees featured, with TMZ claiming Asante McGee – one of the women who allegedly escaped R. Kelly’s home – has been contacted.
The attorney for Joycelyn Savage’s family was said to have been contacted by Chief Investigator Cynthia Nwokocha, and has been fully cooperating.
Those who’ve lived in Kelly’s former home, or have direct knowledge of what happened at the property, have reportedly been asked by investigators for their contact information.
Following the airing of the documentary series, investigators are said to have been inundated with calls, but the District Attorney is not commenting at present.
If you’ve not seen Surviving R. Kelly, according to Lifetime‘s official website, the synopsis reads:
In the ground-breaking documentary series Surviving R. Kelly, women are emerging from the shadows and uniting their voices to share their stories.
Celebrated as one of the greatest R&B singers of all time, R. Kelly’s genre-defining career and playboy lifestyle has been riddled with rumors of abuse, predatory behaviour, and paedophilia.
Despite damning evidence and multiple witnesses, to date, none of these accusations has seemingly affected him.
Speaking about Kelly, Dream Hampton, an executive producer of the documentary series, said, as per The New York Times:
I wish that he would experience a kind of social death, and that people who still vociferously declare him innocent — or their favorite artist, or worthy of having his work separated from who he is — that they are denied that.
She also revealed what each episode focuses on, explaining how the the third and fourth instalments concentrate on Mr. Kelly’s 2008 child pornography trial and the sex tape at its centre.
While the fifth and sixth episodes examine more recent allegations, and follow parents who were trying to free their daughters from Kelly’s influence.
In May 2018, Kelly’s representatives released a statement – in response to a Time’s Up letter which threw weight behind the #MuteRKelly hashtag – which read, as per The New York Times:
R. Kelly supports the pro-women goals of the Time’s Up movement. We understand criticizing a famous artist is a good way to draw attention to those goals — and in this case, it is unjust and off-target.
R. Kelly’s music is a part of American and African-American culture that should never — and will never — be silenced.
Since America was born, black men and women have been lynched for having sex or for being accused of it.
We will vigorously resist this attempted public lynching of a black man who has made extraordinary contributions to our culture.
R. Kelly is yet to return to social media since the Lifetime documentary aired, but his lawyer issued a statement prior to the documentary’s release threatening legal action.
If you’ve been affected by any of the issues in this article and wish to speak to someone in confidence contact the Rape Crisis England and Wales helpline on 0808 802 9999 (12-2:30 and 7-9:30). Alternatively you can contact Victim Support on 08 08 16 89 111.
Male Survivors Partnership is available to support adult male survivors of sexual abuse and rape. You can contact the organisation on its website or on its helpline – 0808 800 5005.
A sports enthusiast with a BA (Hons) in Sports Journalism, who can be found predominantly at Villa Park. Having completed a Masters in Broadcast Journalism, she then went on to work at Sky Sports, the BBC, and the Mirror. When not engrossed in sport, it’s animals, guitars, and Liam Gallagher which take main focus.