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R Kelly denies abuse allegations in tense US TV interview

By | Published on Wednesday 6 March 2019

R Kelly

R Kelly has given an emotional and often tense interview to CBS show ‘This Morning’ in which he argues that the many allegations of abuse against him are “not fair” and “stupid”. He pleads to viewers to “use your common sense” when considering his accusers’ claims.

Interviewer Gayle King repeatedly challenges Kelly on the allegations that have been against him and his defence of them, pressing him particularly on the numerous claims that he had sex with underage girls.

“People are going back to my past, and they’re trying to add all of this stuff now to that”, says Kelly, bringing up the previous child abuse trial he went through, in which he was acquitted. “I beat my case. You can’t double jeopardy me like that. You can’t. It’s not fair. It’s not fair to nobody. When you beat your case, you beat your case”.

King notes that there are many accusations against him, in addition to that one case that went to trial. She also pushes back on Kelly’s insistence that past accusations against him are not relevant to the new abuse charges he is now facing. He again denies that any of the allegations past and present are true, saying: “Whether they’re old rumours, new rumours, future rumours, [they’re] not true”.

As well as pressing him on allegations that he has had sex with numerous underage girls, King also asks him to deny that he has ever held anyone against their will. Several women have said that this is the case, which he also says is not true.

“I don’t need to”, he says. “Why would I? How stupid would it be for R Kelly, with all I’ve been through in my way, way, way past to hold somebody – let alone four, five, six, 50 you said – how stupid would I be to do that?”

Turning to the camera, he then addresses the viewing audience with tears in his eyes, saying: “That’s stupid! Use your common sense. Forget the blogs, forget how you feel about me. Hate me if you want to, love me if you want, but just use your common sense … Quit playing. I didn’t do this stuff. This is not me. I’m fighting for my fucking life!”

King also asks Kelly about the recent shift in attitudes towards him in the music industry, asking: “How do you feel about how people view you in the industry? You know, John Legend has called you a serial rapist. People in the room, some of the top executives were saying he’s over, he’s done, no one will work with him. Lady Gaga has said, has apologised for working with you. Spotify has pulled you off of its playlists. How does all of this sit with you, how you’re viewed now in the industry?”

Calling Lady Gaga a “very great talent”, he says that “it’s unfortunate that her intelligence goes to such a short level when it comes to that”.

“I have nothing against none of these artists”, he goes on. “But I think it’s not professional for them to do that. Because something like this can happen to any artist. Anybody famous. Anybody famous can get accused of so many different things”.

King disagrees that the situation Kelly now finds himself in is something that could happen to “anybody famous”, to which he replies: “This could happen to anybody.”.

The first part of the interview will be aired on ‘CBS This Morning’ at 7am ET (midday in the UK), with the second part to be shown at the same time tomorrow.