Monday 14 January 2019. Police have questioned two women who, according to their families, are being held against their will by R Kelly. However, Joycelyn Savage and Azriel Clary reportedly denied that they are being held hostage and said that they were living with Kelly of their own free will.
According to TMZ, officers attended Kelly’s apartment in the Chicago Trump Tower on Friday, where they questioned Savage and Clary while the musician was held in another room. Both women told officers that they were with Kelly voluntarily and police left without taking further action. The families of both women say that they are the victims of brainwashing by Kelly, while Savage’s family also claim that they have been threatened by the star’s manager.
The questioning comes in the wake of that new documentary series ‘Surviving R Kelly’, which aired on US TV earlier this month and which revisited various allegations of sexual abuse made against the musician over the years. After its broadcast Kim Foxx – the State Attorney for Cook County, Illinois, which includes Chicago – launched an investigation into various claims made in the show and asked alleged victims to come forward.
Meanwhile, Kelly’s attorney Steven Greenberg continues to defend his client, saying in a new statement on Friday: “The allegations aren’t true because he never knowingly had sex with an underage woman, he never forced anyone to do anything, he never held anyone captive, he never abused anyone”.
The lawyer admitted that neither he nor Kelly had seen ‘Surviving R Kelly’ in full, but said that the women featured in the programme who made allegations against his client were “disgruntled” that, having “come on to” Kelly, their own musical careers had not taken off. “Now, some producer went running around and solicited all these people, did a Jerry Springer-esqe show and there is all this uproar”, he added. “It’s disgusting”.
Greenberg also said that he didn’t think the latest round of accusations would harm Kelly’s career – noting the recent spike in streams of his music. However, ongoing issues for Kelly being able to perform live do continue. Last week, a permit for a show later this year was denied in Illinois due to safety concerns.
Also last week, the band Phoenix became the latest former Kelly collaborators to denounce the R&B star following the airing of the new documentary. Kelly previously appeared on a remix of Phoenix’s 2013 track ‘Trying To Be Cool’. He also made a guest appearance during their set at Coachella the same year.
In a statement on Twitter last week, the band said: “We are deeply horrified by the stories of abuse surrounding R Kelly. We regret that we were not both more informed and more discerning when we worked with him previously. We fully support all victims of sexual abuse, and it’s our hope that there will be a path to justice”.
The band have not said if they will withdraw the ‘Trying To Be Cool’ remix from digital music services, as Lady Gaga has with her own 2013 Kelly collaboration, ‘Do What U Want’.
Although there are now a number of new criminal investigations in the works, Kelly is yet to be charged let alone convicted of any wrongdoing. He has settled many civil claims brought against him out of court over the years, but the one time he was tried in a criminal court he was acquitted.