Days after the Women of Color of Time’s Up published an open letter on calling on corporations to boycott R. Kelly, two additional women have come forward to accuse the singer of sexual abuse.
During an interview with BuzzFeed News, one woman, Lizzette Martinez, claims she had a four-year relationship with Kelly during the ‘90s when she was a 17-year-old Florida high school student and Kelly was 28 (the age of consent in Florida is 18).
Martinez says he was mentally and physically abusive, took her virginity, hit her on five different occasions, and at times, forced her to perform sex acts against her will.
The other woman, Michelle, is a Chicago mother whose daughter “N.” began a relationship with Kelly when she was 17 (which is the age of consent in Illinois).
Michelle believes her daughter is “brainwashed” and part of the “cult” Kelly has previously been accused of operating.
“I don’t know what hold he has on her, but her last words to me was, ‘Don’t ever give up on me,’” she shared.
I dont think white ppl & non-Chicagoans know just how predatory #RKelly is. Dude used to wait outside middle schools and high schools looking for girls to essentially kidnap and have sex with. I dont care how good his music is I cant bear to hear his voice #MuteRKelly
— Christina Pillsbury (@XtinaPills) April 30, 2018
In their letter, the Women of Color of Time’s Up wrote, “We demand appropriate investigations and inquiries into the allegations of R. Kelly’s abuse made by women of color and their families for over two decades now.”
Kelly has denied the allegations, and in a statement in response to the Time’s Up letter, his representative wrote, “Soon it will become clear Mr. Kelly is the target of a greedy, conscious and malicious conspiracy to demean him, his family and the women with whom he spends his time.”
His team claims the #MuteRKelly campaign is nothing more than an “attempted public lynching of a black man who has made extraordinary contributions to our culture.”
Despite their denials, the campaign has garnered the support of Black public figures such as Ava DuVernay, Shonda Rhimes, John Legend, Questlove, and Tarana Burke, founder of the #MeToo movement.
“This is something that our community doesn’t want to deal with,” Burke said.
I’ve had it with @KanyeWest + @RKelly using the imagery of lynching as rebuttals re: their dastardly behavior. Evoking racial terrorism and murder for personal gain/blame is stratospheric in is audacity and ignorance. This is what lynching looked like. How dare they? pic.twitter.com/wfobcdjiKL
— Ava DuVernay (@ava) May 2, 2018
We join the call to #MuteRKelly and insist on the safety + dignity of all women. We demand investigations into R. Kelly’s abuse allegations made by women of color + their families for two decades. We call on those who profit from his music to cut ties. #MuteRKelly #TIMESUP #WOC pic.twitter.com/TYmDRVIH00
— Ava DuVernay (@ava) April 30, 2018