Joycelyn Savage used to be one of R. Kelly’s staunchest defenders following a tsunami of abuse and sex crime allegations against him. But now she’s apparently saying he was also controlling and violent with her — even forcing her to have abortions at his home.
A person claiming to be the 24-year-old Savage said in a series of pay-to-view Patreon posts — which Savage promoted via her previously dormant Instagram on Saturday — that she met the R&B singer at a concert in 2015, when she was 19. (Media outlets have not been able to verify whether the account is actually Savage’s, just that it was registered under her name.) Savage wrote in her first post that Kelly, now 52, was initially kind and promised to boost her music career. She later moved into one of his compounds. Years of controlling abuse soon followed, she wrote, and she was forced into making statements supporting him.
Kelly also allegedly forced her to address him as “Daddy,” and once choked her when she mistakenly called him “babe.” He assigned his assistants to stand by her while she showered. He cut off her phone service so she couldn’t speak to her family and allegedly told her that she needed his permission to “do certain stuff.” She wasn’t allowed to speak to the other girls he brought home, “and they were definitely younger than me.” After she got pregnant by him — twice, according to her account— she was also allegedly forced to have abortions in his home because he didn’t want her to go to the hospital. She also claimed that Kelly would urinate and defecate on her and wouldn’t buy her menstrual products.
To keep up the appearance that abuse wasn’t ongoing, she also was allegedly required to give scripted statements to the press affirming her support for Kelly.
“I kept thinking to myself he just wants me to be safe, he wants the best for me he thinks someone is going to take me away from him,” Savage wrote. “But it was me being delusional why would someone claim to love keep me locked up like some damn animal.”
Kelly, whose real name is Robert Sylvester Kelly, is currently in a Chicago jail without bond on federal charges stemming from allegations of sexual assault, abuse, child pornography, and obstruction of justice. He was arrested on those charges in July and continues to face other related charges in Chicago, for which he was arrested in February.
Kelly has continued to maintain his innocence. His attorney, Steve Greenberg, did not immediately return a VICE News request for comment about Savage’s allegations, but told CBS News that Savage’s comments were untrue.
“Obviously if she were to tell the truth, no one would pay, so she has unfortunately chosen to regurgitate the stories and lies told by others for her own personal profit,” Greenberg told CBS News. “We know the real facts, and it was not until the money ran out that she decided anything was wrong. Hopefully people will see it for the obvious profiteering it is."
Though he stood trial on child pornography charges in 2008 and had long been accused of disturbing behavior — he illegally married the singer Aaliyah in 1994, when she was 15 — Kelly has been under renewed scrutiny since Lifetime aired the documentary series “Surviving R. Kelly” in January, detailing victims’ accounts of abuse. Police went to Kelly’s Chicago apartment that month to check on Savage and Azriel Clary, Kelly’s other girlfriend. The two women further defended Kelly in an interview with CBS News’ Gayle King in March. It’s unclear whether the women are still in a relationship with Kelly.
Cover: In this Feb. 23, 2019, photo, Azriel Clary, left, 21, and Joycelyn Savage, 23, leave the the Leighton Criminal Courthouse in Chicago following R&B star R. Kelly's first court appearance on sexual abuse charges. (AP Photo/Matt Marton)