“Surviving R. Kelly” Makes Waves

The Story:

Lifetime, in the first week of 2019, aired a six-part documentary on allegations of sexually abusive behavior by musician R. Kelly. The executive producer, dream hampton, is a longtime activist and a sponsor of Black August, a yearly concert to raise money for political prisoners.

Explosive Accusations:

The Lifetime series featured women who claim to have been abused and manipulated by R&B mogul R. Kelly, often beginning when they were minors.

Much of the material in the series built on the work of Jim DeRogatis, a music critic who has been looking into Kelly and his circle at least since 2002, when someone sent DeRogatis a video that seemed to show Kelly urinating into the mouth of a very young girl. The girl’s aunt later identified her for the Chicago Sun-Times, and said that she was 14 at the time the video was made.

Kelly’s lawyer responds on Kelly’s behalf that he “never knowingly had sex with an underage woman, he never forced anyone to do anything, he never held anyone captive, he never abused anyone.”

The Thing to Know

Since the sexual assault allegations against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein in 2017, and the resulting spread of the hashtag #MeToo, many once-prominent men have become the object of allegations of criminal behavior. In the worlds of show business, journalism, and politics, such allegations have caused many a shake-up. The charges against Kelly are an especially egregious and dramatic example of this broader development.

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