explainer

Abuse, child pornography, sex cults: The allegations against R Kelly in the last 25 years.

On Tuesday, R Kelly announced on Instagram that he would be touring Australia, New Zealand and Sri Lanka.

The response from the public was immediate.

Although the R&B singer hadn’t yet announced venues or even dates for the supposed tour, an Australian woman launched a petition to keep the alleged abuser out of Australia.

“In the wake of a Lifetime documentary Surviving R-Kelly in which multiple women, including his ex-wife, made on-camera allegations of emotional, sexual and physical abuse we need to let David Coleman, Minister for Immigration and Border Control that we don’t want R-Kelly here!” the petition read.

The backlash was so fierce, that in just a few hours, the announcements were pulled from R Kelly’s Instagram and Twitter pages.

Back in 2015, Chris Brown’s Australian tour was cancelled after his visa was refused over past domestic violence convictions.

Now, many Australians want R Kelly to receive the same treatment.

While it’s unclear whether the tour will still go ahead, it’s important we look back at the history of allegations against the singer.

1994

In 1994, at 27 years old, R Kelly married 15-year-old singer Aaliyah.

The illicit relationship was first exposed when Vibe magazine published a copy of a marriage certificate, which showed the pair had wed in Illinois on August 31 1994. The document stated that Aaliyah was 18 years old at the time, when she was in fact just 15.

Speaking on the documentary, R. Kelly’s former personal assistant, Demetrius Smith, claimed to be present for the ceremony: “I’m not proud of that. I had papers forged for them when Aaliyah was underage. It was just a quick little ceremony. She didn’t have on a white dress. He didn’t have on a tux. Just everyday wear. She looked worried and scared.”

Smith claimed the marriage was annulled by her parents the following year.

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It’s believed Aaliyah cut personal and professional ties with R Kelly after the annulment. She refused to speak publicly about the relationship in the years that followed.

aaliyah r kelly
In 1994, R Kelly married 15-year-old singer Aaliyah. Image: Getty.

1996

In 1996, Tiffany Hawkins sued R Kelly for "emotional distress" during a lengthy relationship with the performer.

According to court documents, Tiffany began having sex with R Kelly in 1991, when she was just 15. Kelly was 24 at the time.

2001

In 2001, R Kelly was sued by Tracy Sampson, an intern at Epic Records, who claimed he induced her into a sexual relationship with him when she was underage.

"He often tried to control every aspect of my life including who I would see and where I would go," Tracy said, according to court documents.

2002

In 2002, Kelly was sued by two more women.

Chicago woman Patrice Jones claimed the singer impregnated her when she was underage. She was later forced to have an abortion.

Another woman, Montina Woods, alleged Kelly had videotaped them having sex without her knowledge or consent.

Both cases were settled out of court and non-disclosure agreements were issued to both women.

Later on in the year, Kelly was charged with 21 counts of making child pornography when he was accused of filming a minor participating in a number of sex acts – including one scene where a woman was reportedly urinated on.

The jury eventually found the singer not guilty, as they were unable to prove whether the girl videoed was underage.

Not long after, he was charged with another further 12 counts of making child pornography when police seized a camera at Kelly's property which reportedly showed Kelly having sex with a minor.

The charges were later dropped as Kelly's defence team argued that police didn't have enough evidence to justify searching his property.

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R Kelly documentary allegations
The allegations have continued to build for years. Image: Getty.

2005

In 2005, Kelly's second wife Andrea Kelly was granted an emergency protective order against Kelly after she alleged he physical abused, harassed and stalked her.

Andrea, who has three kids with the singer, married the star in 1996.

The pair separated in 2005 as Andrea filed for a restraining order.

2017

In 2017, Buzzfeed published a report accusing the singer of trapping young women in a 'sex cult'.

The allegations came from the parents of several women and three former employees of Kelly.

Kelly has since denied the allegations.

Following the release of Buzzfeed's report, Jerhona Pace spoke out about having sex with Kelly when she was underage.

Another woman, Kittie Jones, also alleged the star had physically abused her and coerced her into a sexual relationship.

2018

In 2018, the #MuteRKelly campaign was launched in an effort to encourage record label RCA to cut ties with Kelly.

The campaign also called on streaming services including Spotify, Pandora and Apple Music to remove his music from their playlists.

In the same year, the singer was also sued by a former partner who claimed he infected her with an STD intentionally.

Watch a clip from documentary Surviving R Kelly below.

2019

In January, Lifetime aired shocking six-part documentary Surviving R. Kelly.

The documentary series saw multiple women accuse the singer of sexual abuse, physical abuse and even starving them.

The series also detailed all the allegations against the singer to date, including many of those mentioned above.

On January 18, Kelly's record company RCA dropped him as an artist following the release of the documentary.

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