R&B veteran R. Kelly has slammed the continued coverage of "false allegations" of sexual misconduct made against him, insisting it's all an attempt to destroy his legacy.
The I Believe I Can Fly hitmaker has been the subject of underage sex allegations for years, and was acquitted on child pornography charges in 2008, but last year (17), the families of two women and several former associates accused him of coercing young ladies into becoming his sex pets.
He vehemently denied the accusations at the time, but came under scrutiny again more recently after a former girlfriend appeared on a BBC documentary examining his sex scandals, and claimed he had admitted to grooming a 14-year-old girl - allegations the 51-year-old singer also dismissed.
On Friday (04May18), two more women came forward with allegations of sexual abuse against Kelly.
In a new BuzzFeed News expose, Lizzette Martinez, from Florida, claimed she was an underage high school student in the 1990s when she embarked on a four-year relationship with the then-28-year-old musician, who reportedly knowingly took her virginity. She also accused Kelly of hitting her on five separate occasions during their relationship, while he also allegedly forced her to take part in various sex acts.
Meanwhile, a Chicago, Illinois woman named Michelle believes her daughter may be in trouble after allegedly becoming involved with Kelly when she was 17 - the age of consent in the state. The concerned mum is convinced her child, only referred to as "N." has been "brainwashed" to serve as part of a sex "cult" reportedly run by the embattled star.
"I don't know what hold he has on her, but her last words to me was (sic), 'Don't ever give up on me,'" she told the outlet.
Kelly has since taken aim at the latest accusations in a new statement, insisting he is truly "heartbroken" by the thought that he mistreats women.
According to The Associated Press, the singer describes himself as "a God-fearing man, a son, a brother, and most importantly a father" in the press release, stating he has fallen victim to vicious reporters who have "dissected and manipulated these false allegations".
He goes on to insist the claims of sexual misconduct are "perpetuated by the media" in an "attempt to distort my character and to destroy my legacy that I have worked so hard to build".
The new developments in the controversy emerge days after Kelly's manager hit back at activists behind the Time's Up anti-sexual assault movement, after they called for a boycott of his music and the cancellation of his concerts as they demanded an official investigation into the misconduct allegations made against him.
Firing back at the call-to-action, his managers declared: "R. Kelly supports the pro-women goals of the Time's Up movement. We understand criticising a famous artist is a good way to draw attention to those goals - and in this case, it is unjust and off-target.
"We will vigorously resist this attempted public lynching of a black man who has made extraordinary contributions to our culture."