After years of rumors and accusations, R. Kelly is finally facing significant public backlash for abuse involving women and teens. At the end of April 2018, women involved in the Time’s Up movement called for companies to cut ties with the singer with the hashtag #MuteRKelly. Their efforts led to Spotify removing Kelly’s music from its curated playlists. And now, a woman is suing Kelly for sexual battery.
The plaintiff, Faith Rodgers, filed the lawsuit yesterday, May 21st, in the Supreme Court of New York. In the suit, the 20-year-old alleged that the R&B singer “mentally, sexually, and verbally” abused her over the course of about a year. She also claimed that Kelly often locked her up and knowingly infected her with herpes.
In a May 22nd appearance on CBS This Morning, Rodgers stated that she first met Kelly at a party after a concert in San Antonio. She also said that after Kelly flew her to New York for one of his concerts, he sexually assaulted her for the first time. “I didn’t really say anything. I kinda just froze up,” she said. “I definitely was uncomfortable. But he has this type of, like, intimidation right off the bat. You know? So I was just waiting for it to be over.”
This is not the first time Kelly has been sued for alleged sex crimes. In 2008, he was acquitted in a child pornography case. And in 1998, the “I Believe I Can Fly” singer settled out of court with a woman named Tiffany Hawkins, who accused him of statutory rape. Due to the decades of allegations against the singer, Rodgers’ suit reportedly described her experience as “run-of-the-mill R. Kelly sexual abuse.”
On CBS This Morning, Rodgers explained that she filed the lawsuit to protect other girls and women who might fall prey to Kelly in the same way she did.
Kelly has routinely denied the accusations against him, and a statement from his representative called the #MuteRKelly movement a “greedy, conscious, and malicious conspiracy to demean him.”
Rodgers’ suit could result in Kelly’s conviction after years of reported sex crimes. We stand with Kelly’s accusers, and we hope that they will finally see the justice they deserve.