In a strongly worded statement, the government of Dubai is denying that embattled singer R. Kelly, facing multiple charges of sexual assault against minors, has an upcoming engagement there, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
The government statement released on Sunday flies in the face of the request by the 52-year-old singer asking to travel to the wealthy city in the United Arab Emirates for a concert engagement.
“Authorities in Dubai have not received any request for a performance by singer R. Kelly nor are there any venues that have been booked,” read the rare statement from the Dubai Media Office.
The office also denied claims by Kelly that he was to perform for the family of ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
The singer “has not been invited by the Dubai royal family for a performance,” the statement read.
After the January airing of the Lifetime documentary Surviving R. Kelly, the Chicago-based performer was charged on Feb. 22 with sexually assaulting three girls and one woman. For years, rumors about such alleged abuse swirled around Kelly, prompting the “MuteRKelly” social media campaign.
In response to the statement by the Dubai government, Kelly’s lawyer, Steven A. Greenberg, told the Associated Press via email, “Mr. Kelly had a signed contract with a legitimate promoter, and any information that was included in the motion to travel was from that contract.”
Greenberg added, “We did not say he was invited by the royal family, but the contract did provide that he would make himself available to meet with them.”
In a court filing from last week, Greenberg said that Kelly needs to raise money because his money-making opportunities have dwindled.
“Before he was arrested Mr. Kelly had signed a contract to perform between 3-5 shows in Dubai, UAE, in April 2019,” the filing read, according to the Sun-Times. “He requests permission to travel to Dubai for the shows. While there he is supposed to meet with the royal family.”
The filing did not indicate where Kelly was allegedly scheduled to perform, the Sun-Times reported.
Kelly’s life has spiraled in recent weeks. He spent time in jail while he struggled to come up with more than $161,000 he owed in back child support for the three children he had with ex-wife Andrea Kelly. Also, celebrity lawyer Michael Avenatti has referred to the existence of a sex tape that allegedly features Kelly engaged in sexual acts with a 14-year-old, according to TMZ. Greenberg said he has not seen the tape, TMZ reports.