Doc­u­men­tary puts new at­ten­tion on Kelly

Pros­e­cu­tor asks for vic­tims of sex­ual al­le­ga­tions to speak

Houston Chronicle - - NEWSMAKERS -

R. Kelly, one of the top-sell­ing record­ing artists of all time, has been dogged for years by al­le­ga­tions of sex­ual mis­con­duct in­volv­ing women and un­der­age girls — ac­cu­sa­tions he and his at­tor­neys have long de­nied.

But an Illi­nois pros­e­cu­tor’s plea for po­ten­tial vic­tims and witnesses to come for­ward and new protests that have sparked hope among some ad­vo­cates the R&B star might face crim­i­nal charges.

“Please come for­ward. There’s noth­ing that can be done to in­ves­ti­gate these al­le­ga­tions with­out co­op­er­a­tion be­tween vic­tims and witnesses,” Cook County State Attorney Kim Foxx said Tuesday at a news con­fer­ence in Chicago. “We can­not seek jus­tice with­out you.”

Still, some le­gal ex­perts and prose­cu­tors say it might be dif­fi­cult to bring charges.

Ac­cusers and witnesses would have to speak out, and even then, prose­cu­tors could have a hard time winning a con­vic­tion.

In re­cent days, Kelly, 52, has faced in­creased pres­sure from ad­vo­cates who have protested out­side of his Chicago stu­dio and de­manded po­lice in­ves­ti­gate al­le­ga­tions against mi­nors.

The lat­est sus­pi­cions come days af­ter Life­time aired the doc­u­men­tary “Sur­viv­ing R. Kelly,” which re­vis­ited old al­le­ga­tions and brought new ones into the spot­light.

The se­ries fol­lows the BBC’s “R Kelly: Sex, Girls & Video­tapes,” which was re­leased last year. It al­leged the singer was hold­ing women against their will and run­ning a “sex cult.”

Ac­tivists from the (hash)MeToo and #MuteRKelly so­cial me­dia move­ments have seized on the re­newed at­ten­tion to call for stream­ing ser­vices to drop Kelly’s mu­sic and pro­mot­ers not to book con­certs.

De­spite the ac­cu­sa­tions that span decades, the star singer, song­writer and pro­ducer who rose from poverty on Chicago’s South Side has re­tained a siz­able fol­low­ing.

He has not only writ­ten nu­mer­ous hits for him­self but for other artists in­clud­ing Ce­line Dion, Michael Jack­son and Lady Gaga. His col­lab­o­ra­tors have in­cluded Jay-Z and Usher.

On Thursday, Lady Gaga said she is sorry for her 2013 duet with Kelly in the wake of sex­ual mis­con­duct al­le­ga­tions against the singer, and she in­tends to re­move the song from stream­ing ser­vices.

“What I am hear­ing about the al­le­ga­tions against R. Kelly is ab­so­lutely hor­ri­fy­ing and in­de­fen­si­ble,” she said.

John Shearer / As­so­ci­ated Press

Lady Gaga says she is sorry for her 2013 duet with R. Kelly and in­tends to re­move the song from stream­ing ser­vices.

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