As the prevalence of sexual abuse in Hollywood is finally being unveiled, thanks to Harvey Weinstein’s victims sharing their stories, more women are speaking up against the “shitty media men.”
However, at least one of those men, R. Kelly, has somehow managed to evade media scrutiny, despite facing multiple allegations of sexual misconduct, including abusing and engaging sexual relationships with minors, keeping them in a “cult” and videotaping child pornography, charges that go as far as 1994.
As R. Kelly’s continues to thrive, his victims await justice.
In July 2017, Buzzfeed detailed a disturbing report, which alleged Kelly, much like Weinstein, lured young women, who came to him for help with their singing career, and initiated sexual relationships with them.
Kelly was also accused of holding these women against their will in a “cult,” where he sexually abused them, taking control of their lives, behavior and forbidding contact with the outside world. Unfortunately, officials can’t do anything because his victims kept telling them that the association was consensual.
However, one woman came forward with her story. Jerhonda Pace was 15-years-old when he first met him outside a court building in 2008. Then, a 41-year-old Kelly was on trial for charges on child pornography, involving a 26-minute tape, featuring oral sex, masturbation and other explicit scenes with a 14-year-old girl, Roshana.
There was proof that the tape was recorded in Kelly’s house in Chicago, but the jury decided to declare him not guilty. He could have been sentenced to 15 years in prison otherwise.
In 2017, Pace claimed she was 16-years-old when she lost her virginity to Kelly, who was 42-years-old at the time. She told the horrifying tale of how she was “trained” to satisfy him to how she saved her life by running away from the alleged cult. She violated the non-disclosure agreement signed by describing the "cult" on an American talk show, “The Real.”
"He would slap you in your face. He would physically harm you and he would put you in a room and he would put you in a room and he would lock you in the room for days. For days,” Kelly’s victim revealed.
With the emergence of anti-sexual harassment movements like #MeToo and #TimesUp, powerful entertainment behemoths fell, but Kelly stood still. In fact, the RnB singer will be going to Hawaii next month for a tour.
“I was livid, because when their stories came out, they received so much attention. It was just crazy, and I was like, ‘What about R. Kelly’s victims? What about us?’ Nothing happened for us,” Pace questioned.
The 51-year-old singer has denied the existence of the alleged “cult.” And his fans continue to adore him.
In his autobiography, titled “Soulacoaster: The Diary of Me,” Kelly has detailed his own experience of sexual abuse as a child. He has claimed he was repeatedly raped by an older woman when he was only 8-years-old and was told to keep the relationship a secret.
Apart from the alleged “cult,” Kelly was accused of marrying late singer Aaliyah in 1994 when she was only 15-years-old. In 2016, Tiffany Hawkins sued Kelly for "personal injuries and emotional distress" she had to go through during their three-year relationship. In 2001, an intern Tracy Sampson accused him of inducing her "into an indecent sexual relationship" when she was only 17-years-old.
In 2002, right before he was alleged of videotaping child pornography, another accuser Patrice Jones alleged he impregnated her and forced her to undergo an abortion.
The question is, why some men facing allegations are experiencing career consequences while others are not?
It is important to mention that almost all of Kelly’s victims were all underage and women of color, factors that may have contributed to the lack of media coverage and no repercussions for the alleged abuser. “It’s the world we’re living in today, blacks are always black, and we’re always at the bottom of the barrel,” Pace said.
"His continued success hinges on the invisibility of black women and girls. As long as black women are seen to be a caste not worthy of care and protection, his actions will not receive widespread outcry." https://t.co/HH62glXY8H— Ava DuVernay (@ava) December 2, 2017
Thumbnail/Banner Credits: REUTERS/Andrea De Silva