On Wednesday, CBS This Morning broadcast Gayle King’s in-depth interview with R. Kelly. The interview was the first time the R&B singer has spoken in public since he was charged on 10 counts of aggravated sexual abuse involving four women, three of whom were underage at the time of their alleged assaults.
Kelly strongly denied all of the allegations when confronted with the charges by King. At one point he broke down in tears and had to be restrained by a publicist as he spoke directly to the camera filming King and himself.
“I have been assassinated. I have been buried alive. But I’m alive!” Kelly stated. “Thirty years of my career! And y’all trying to kill me? You killing me, man! This is not about music! I’m trying to have a relationship with my kids! And I can’t do it! Y’all just don’t want to believe the truth! You don’t want to believe it!”
During the interview Kelly spoke about the great number of artists who have apologized for working with him during their careers and even pulled their work together from streaming services. One such artist is Lady Gaga, whom Kelly called “a very great talent and all,” but said “it’s unfortunate that her intelligence go to such a short level when it comes to that” and said it was “not professional for them to do that. Because something like this can happen to any artist. Anybody famous.”
Kelly refused to comment on previous allegations of abuse that he has faced, though was keen to stress that he was acquitted on child pornography charges in 2008 and that going on to offend would be wrong.
“How stupid would it be for me, with my crazy past and what I’ve been through?" he asked. "[To say] 'I just think I need to be monster, hold girls against their will, chain them up in my basement, and don’t let them eat, don’t let them out, unless they need some shoes down the street from their uncle!”
During the 80-minute interview Kelly alleged that people accusing him were doing so for financial gain and also suggested social media made it too easy to accuse people of crimes.
“You can start a rumor on a guy like me or a celebrity just like that,” Kelly explained. “All you have to do is push a button on your phone and say so and so did this to me, R. Kelly did this to me, and if you get any traction from that, if you’re able to write a book from that, if you’re able to get a reality show… then any girl that I had a relationship in the past that it just didn’t work out, she can come and say the same exact thing.”
On Friday, March 8, CBS will broadcast a separate interview King conducted with two young women currently living with Kelly. The parents of Azriel Clary and Joycelyn Savage claim Kelly is holding them against their will. Kelly denied this to King, saying: “I love them, they’re my girlfriends. We have a relationship — it’s real.” Asked if he prefers younger women, Kelly replied: “I don’t look at ‘much younger than me’. I just look at ‘legal’."
Kelly has pleaded not guilty to the sexual abuse charges filed against him in Chicago. He’s currently out on bail after a female fan agreed to pay his $100,000 bail fee from her own money.