Artist News Legal

New sexual misconduct lawsuit filed against R Kelly

By | Published on Tuesday 22 May 2018

R Kelly

A new lawsuit has been filed against R Kelly. Papers filed in New York accuse the musician of sexual battery, false imprisonment and failure to disclose a sexually transmitted disease.

Faith Rodgers says that she met Kelly when she was nineteen and began a year long relationship with him – initially over the phone. After a number of months, he arranged for her to fly out to meet him in New York, where he “initiated unwanted sexual contact” in a hotel room. It is here she says she unknowingly contracted herpes from him.

They maintained their relationship for several more months, although Rodgers says that during this time Kelly “routinely engaged in intimidation, mental, verbal and sexual abuse, during and after sexual contact”.

Noting the various other similar accusations that have been made against the musician, the lawsuit says: “Unfortunately, the facts and background of this case are not unique. This is a run-of-the-mill R Kelly sexual abuse case”.

A lawyer for Rodgers has confirmed that she is in fact the same woman who began legal proceedings against Kelly in Dallas last month.

Accusations of sexual misconduct have followed R Kelly around for more than two decades, of course. Many civil cases have been settled out of court, but the one time he was prosecuted in 2008, he was acquitted. However, recently a number of new claims have come to light, including in articles for Buzzfeed and Rolling Stone, and a BBC documentary.

Elsewhere, Kelly last week lost an entirely unrelated legal case in Georgia, where he was suing a promoter for breach of contract, after two of his attorneys stepped down, citing “ethical obligations”. He failed to put forward new representation, or adhere to an order to personally appear in court, so on 15 May the judge ruled against him. In April, another lawyer, a publicist and an assistant all cut their ties with Kelly as well.

Aside from those directly employed by Kelly, the most widely reported recent ‘cutting of ties’ involved Spotify, of course, and its decision to remove his music from its in-house playlists. In the short-term at least, this move – as part of a new ‘hateful content’ policy – seems to have backfired. In the week following the announcement, amid plenty of media coverage of the ban, Kelly’s plays on the platform actually increased slightly.

However, the other high profile artist cut from the company’s playlists under its new rules, XXXTentacion, has reportedly seen a fairly dramatic dip in plays on the platform.

The Spotify policy remains controversial, because neither artist has actually been convicted of any crime as yet. Some have accused Spotify of trying to act as judge and jury, while others have called on the company to drop other artists (of which there are many) who have also been accused of sexual crimes and/or physical abuse against women, some of which have been convicted.

It had been rumoured that high profile Spotify exec Troy Carter had quit the company in protest at the new policy. He denied this last week, although admitted that there had been a disagreement over it.