R. Kelly accused of sexual assault

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R. Kelly accused of sexual assault

Hailey Reyes, Editor-in-Chief of Writing & Design

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Robert Kelly, famous R&B singer who goes by R. Kelly, has been accused of sexually assaulting and preying on young black teenagers specifically, for the past twenty years. Now, with the largely established #MeToo movement, R. Kelly’s alleged crimes are brought to the forefront of the public’s attention as women continually share their stories of his alleged sexual abuse done unto them.

Most prominently the Lifetime special “Surviving R. Kelly” has created controversy regarding R. Kelly’s alleged crimes against young black women. Many take to social media to share their opinions on: whether Kelly is guilty or not, and assuming he is guilty, whether his music should be muted or respected based on a separation from Kelly’s character.

Celebrities such as Taraji P. Henson and Erykah Badu’s morals have been called into question online. Henson claims that her statements about Kelly were misconstrued and she is in full support of the alleged victims. Badu, contrarily, has been criticized for her rumored refusal to take part in “Surviving R. Kelly,” which producer, Dream Hampton, asked her to join.

Although, Kelly has never been found guilty on any counts, many accusations have been made against him; in 1994 Kelly married an underage Aaliyah while she was just 15 and he was 24, in 1996 Kelly was sued by Tiffany Hawkins for sexual misconduct, in January of 2001 Kelly was indicted on child porn charges and found not guilty, in August of 2001 Tracy Sampson sued R. Kelly for alleged sexual abuse, in 2002 Patrice Jones sued Kelly for assaulting her when she was 16, and in May of 2002 Motina Woods sued Kelly for taping their sexual encounter without her consent. Kelly settled all cases of sexual assault and misconduct brought against him and many of the women signed non-disclosure agreements.

Kelly’s avoidance of any legal repercussions is not definitive proof of his innocence and does not indicate, as many argue, that the women who have shared their stories are lying. According to BBC.com only about 8 percent of all rape accusations are false. This percentage being much smaller than the number of rapes which go unreported each year.

The controversy surrounding R. Kelly in the media right now, regardless of his stance as an innocent or guilty man, could be detrimental to his career and may forever damage his image as a respected artist.