Alleged victims, their parents react to R. Kelly interview
Watching R. Kelly’s behavior in a CBS interview evoked an emotional response from some of the women who have alleged that the singer abused them.
That was the focus of a “CBS This Morning” report Friday that followed Gayle King’s explosive interview this week with Kelly. The singer became the subject of renewed interest in sexual misconduct allegations after Lifetime aired the “Surviving R. Kelly” docuseries in January with some of the alleged victims and their families.
Kelly, 52, has consistently denied any allegations of abuse of women or being sexually involved with underaged girls and reiterated that in his interview with King.
He has not been convicted of any crimes in connection with any of the allegations.
Kelly was indicted last month on 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse, and his attorney pleaded not guilty on his behalf to the charges.
Michelle Kramer told CBS she has only watched clips of Kelly’s interview because “I can’t do circus acts.”
Kramer was featured in “Surviving R. Kelly,” which traced her attempt to bring her daughter Dominique Gardner back home after she had been living for years with Kelly. Gardner first met the singer in 2009 when she was 17, her mother said, and moved in with him when she was 21.
Kramer said her daughter almost threw the remote at the television as she watched the interview.
“Everything he said when he jumped up — (my daughter) like she remembered the rage when she wouldn’t do what he asked her to do, tell her to do or he’d get upset about something,” she said.
In the docuseries, Kramer is seen tracking her daughter to a hotel where she was staying with Kelly and convincing her to sneak out so they could leave.
King asked Kelly about the “rescue” during their interview.
“Rescue, whoa really,” Kelly said in response. “Be careful Gayle.”
When King said she was only describing it in terms of an allegation, Kelly responded, “You not just telling me. You saying this Gayle — you breaking my heart — you saying it like you believe it.”
CBS News’ Jericka Duncan also talked to Asante McGee and Kitti Jones, who alleged in the docuseries that Kelly had abused them.
“When he started screaming, it terrified me,” McGee said of watching Kelly’s CBS interview. “There’s nothing that I felt sorry for him for because I know the type of monster he is and I know he would cry at the drop of a dime. He’s a great performer.”
Jones said she felt compassion for her former boyfriend and said she cried watching the man she once loved.
“I couldn’t help but wonder why didn’t someone step in and help him earlier,” she said.
King talked to Tim and Jonjelyn Savage, whose 23-year-old daughter, Joycelyn, lives with Kelly along with Azriel Clary, 21.
Both women’s parents appeared in “Surviving R. Kelly” and say the pair are being controlled by the singer.
Joycelyn Savage and Clary denied that to King in an interview that aired Thursday.
They said they are in a relationship with Kelly and alleged that their parents have gone public with complaints against Kelly in an attempt to get money from him.
Kelly alleged that Clary’s parents in essence sold their daughter to him.
Attorney Michael Avenatti represents Azriel’s parents, Alice and Angelo Clary, and released a statement denying those accusations.
“We have never received a penny from R. Kelly. We have never asked R. Kelly for money,” the statement said. “And we never ‘sold’ our daughter to him or anyone else. R. Kelly is a desperate liar and serial abuser of young girls who should die in prison. All of the victims and parents cannot be lying.”
Kelly told King that Tim Savage brought his daughter to one of performer’s concerts and asked a friend of Kelly’s to get his daughter, an aspiring singer, on stage with Kelly.
Savage denied that to King in the interview that aired Friday and said he has never even met Kelly.
“I’ve only talked to him one time on the phone,” Savage said. “And that one time you know what he told me? He said, ‘You going to have to wait to see your daughter. Trust the process.’ How can you tell another father to trust the process, but you ranting and raving on TV that you want to see your kids, but you won’t allow me to see my own daughter?”
Kelly cried during his interview with King, saying the allegations against him have made it difficult to support and have a continued relationship with his three children.
“How can I work, how can I get paid, how can I take care of my kids? How?” he asked.
In a separate case, Kelly was taken into custody Wednesday over failure to pay child support and was jailed, according to the Cook County Sheriff’s Office in Chicago. Kelly owes $161,000, the sheriff’s office said. Supporters are working to get Kelly out of jail, publicist Darrell Johnson told reporters earlier.