In a 2008 interview R Kelly was asked if he liked teenage girls. His response was disturbing.

R Kelly has a long, fraught history of dubious interactions with girls and young women.

Yet it’s taken the new Lifetime documentary series Surviving R Kelly for various accusations of sexual offences – including rape and sex with underage girls – to finally reach the front of the public’s mind.

The series features interviews and alleges that R Kelly, whose real name is Robert Sylvester Kelly, is the leader of a sex cult and had kidnapped, harassed and abused several victims.

It’s been reported that US police have launched an investigation into these claims off the back of the documentary.

So while action appears to have been taken now, a reporter who interviewed Kelly more than a decade ago is likely wondering why it’s taken so long.

Touré, who interviewed the rapper for TV station BET in 2008, asked Kelly a now infamous question, which elicited a disturbing response leaving the reporter stunned.

The music journalist writes in a reflection of the day, that when he asked the then-star, “Do you like teenage girls?” he expected Kelly to say “no”.

Instead, Kelly said this: “When you say teenage, how old are we talking?”


It was not the flat-out denial Touré was expecting. In fact, it wasn’t even a denial at all.

“I was dumbfounded,” Touré wrote in a piece for the Daily Beast in 2017. “I thought of that as pretty much an admission. He was so unable to just say no that he truly did not know what to say and responded by asking me a dumb question.”

The writer said he was even more taken aback when after clarifying to Kelly that he meant “Girls who are teenagers”,  the singer smiled and told him, “Well, I have some 19-year-old friends.”

The journalist had asked the question shortly after a jury had failed to convict Kelly of creating child pornography – and Touré saw his interview responses as a sign of his arrogance and sense of being untouchable.

Kelly had been charged in 2002 of making child pornography after a tape circulated that appeared to show him having sex with women, one of whom he urinated on. That woman looked suspiciously under-age.

The case took several years to be tried, and despite witnesses testifying that the girl was in fact under the legal age of consent in the state, Kelly was found not guilty.

Years earlier, in 1995 he had illegally married singer Aaliyah when she was just 15 years old and he was 27. After a magazine found proof they had married, and she had lied about her age, writing 18 instead on the marriage certificate, their marriage was annulled. Yet Kelly never faced charges over the relationship.

In the past two years, a number of women have come out with claims of sexual abuse against Kelly.

This time, they might just stick.