#MeToo Movement Reaches R. Kelly
By Erin Stehler
It’s the remix to ignition, coming straight out of prison. Artist R. Kelly was arrested on Friday, February 22 on at least ten counts of sexual abuse, some of which involved underage girls. This is not our friend Robert’s first rodeo in court. R. Kelly has been involved in an illegal marriage, many abuse scandals (some of which are on video), and is supposedly at least a couple hundred-thousand dollars in debt and facing eviction. Despite his 2018 single, “I Admit”, he denied everything in court. Despite the best efforts of his lawyer, Kelly spent a couple of nights in the slammer. Bail was set at $100,000 which does not seem like very much money for the artist behind wholesome hits such as “Sex Me” and “Sex Planet”; however, he was unable to conjure up the cash until Monday.
In true pedophile fashion, R. Kelly walked straight out of Cook County jail and into his van on Monday afternoon. He then drove straight home to think about the consequences of his actions. Just kidding, he went straight to McDonalds in River North. Witnesses say he ordered a quarter-pounder with soda and coffee. BBQ on the side. I know that you were wondering. Fans gathered to play his music in the parking lot. The River North McDonalds is widely known for its music theme; unrelated, it is also known for being a popular hangout spot for underage kids. In his defense he probably needed some new ones, after all, from Friday to Monday he wasn’t around to feed the ones he probably keeps in his house. This is troubling to say the least, considering the allegations he is facing. More troubling still is that he picked up an unidentified woman on the road on the way to McDonalds. Following McDonalds, the van was said to have headed to a cigar lounge.
Some may wonder how R. Kelly could have abused so many women for decades on end while remaining in the public eye. Rumor has it that the workers in Kelly’s studio along with his manager may have helped him commit and cover up this abuse. In one case, Kelly and his manager were at a restaurant and met a fan celebrating her sixteenth birthday. His manager gave the girl a card with Kelly’s personal phone number on it and told her to call. Kelly was charged for abusing that girl for about a year. Kelly’s manager, Henry Mason, is a real stand up guy. Following the documentary “Surviving R. Kelly”, a police officer overheard threats Mason was making to the father of one of the victims. Nothing says “we’re innocent” quite like threatening to murder the family of a victim of assault. He was arrested in July but released on a $10,000 bond. More recently, it is speculated that R. Kelly’s staff assists him in holding women in different rooms of his studio. Sources say that nobody is allowed to enter those rooms, and that the women would often ask for food or to be let out to use the bathroom. These are not yet confirmed allegations, but at this point why not just throw them into the mix.
Now let’s take a look at some of the charges, more specifically those that were in question this past weekend. There were ten charges of abuse against R. Kelly and four victims, at least three of which were underage. The first victim was under the age of 17 and abused on at least four accounts between the years of 1998 and 1999. Similarly, the second victim was abused on at least two occasions between September of 1998 and September of 2001. The victim was in a similar age range to the first. The third victim had a single encounter with the star of February 18, 2003 in which he ejaculated on her during an attempted assault. The fourth victim endured three counts of abuse while under the age of 17 between 2009 and 2010.
Since Kelly was put on trial back in 2002 and freed of 14 charges of child pornography in 2008, a lot has changed. The spark of the #MeToo movement continues to bring forth victims willing to tell their stories. However, it is still developing and many people still feel threatened by their attackers and are unwilling to come forward. Attorney Michael Avenatti claims to have more evidence since the release of Kelly and believes more victims will be inspired to come forward. R. Kelly’s attorney, Steve Greenberg, says he believes all of the women are lying and trying to profit off of him. Arraignment is set for March 8, where it seems he will be pleading not guilty. After R. Kelly’s long history of allegations, dropped charges, and rumors, the conviction or lack thereof on March 8 will affect the #MeToo movement more than he could ever affect the top 40 charts.