R. Kelly can be a polarizing subject nowadays due to sexual assault allegations, BuzzFeed News is reporting. While Kelly has been a controversial figure for years now, the Lifetime documentary, Surviving R. Kelly, introduced abuse allegations made against him back into public conversation. The documentary interviews victims, fellow stars in the industry, and even Kelly’s family members to paint a monstrous picture. Kelly has denied all allegations made against him. While some have been motivated to demand justice for Kelly’s alleged victims, others are still set on defending him.
The Twitter campaign #MuteRKelly has spilled over into real life, with protesters reportedly showing up outside of the singer’s West Side Studio in Chicago on Saturday, January 12. The protesters are said to have made giant messages in chalk, as well as chanting things like “R. Kelly, your time is up!” and “Black girls matter!” Fans of Kelly, however, decided to defend him in a counter-protest. In opposition to the protesters, two white cars blaring Kelly’s music drove past, with those inside holding up signs that said “R. Kelly We (heart) U.” In response, the protesters yelled “Mute R. Kelly” into megaphones.
Protests also reportedly occurred on Wednesday as well. Kelly has been facing major consequences ever since the release of the documentary, with criminal investigations into the singer being re-opened. In addition, a concert hosted by the singer in Illinois, The Spring Break Jam, had to be cancelled due to safety concerns. Kelly is said to be suffering from panic attacks due to all of the chaos.
Kelly has multiple accusers already alleging that he physically, mentally, and sexually abused them, but there may be even more than the ones who appeared in the documentary. On Tuesday, January 8, Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx made a plea to the public in a press conference urging any other victims or those with knowledge of the situation to come forward with the information.
“We cannot do anything related to these allegations without the cooperation of these victims,” Foxx was quoted as saying.
Her office said in a statement the next day that they had indeed received calls regarding the allegations after Foxx’s announcement. She shared that two families in the Chicago area came forward about attempting to locate missing relatives under the age of 18, who they fear were involved with Kelly. In addition, the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office in Atlanta, Georgia, are attempting to make contact with the victims who appeared in the documentary to further investigate.