The 22-year-old woman whose family claims she is being held hostage by R. Kelly is speaking out.
Joycelyn Savage spoke to TMZ Monday via video chat following a shocking expose from a BuzzFeed News reporter alleging that Kelly is holding Savage and other women against their will in an abusive “sex cult.”
BuzzFeed’s report cites claims from family members of the alleged victims, and three former members of the “cult”. They all claim that Kelly has women living in multiple properties within Chicago and Atlanta, and keeps them under his control while he uses them for sex.
According to the claims, if the women break his various rules, he punishes them “physically and verbally.”
But Savage, who refused to disclose her current residence, says she is doing fine.
“I am in a happy place with my life and I’m not being brainwashed or anything like that,” she explained. “It just came to a point where it definitely has [gotten] out of hand. I just want everybody to know … that I am totally fine and everything is OK with me.”
When asked by TMZ if she was living with other roommates or if she is free to leave her current residence, Savage declined to answer.
Savage’s family told BuzzFeed that they hadn’t seen Savage since 2016.
“My daughter is being held against her will,” her father, Timothy Savage, told reporters in Johns Creek, Georgia, near where Kelly has a home. “The last time I saw my daughter she was in a horrible condition.”
Kelly has denied the accusations against him.
“Mr. Robert Kelly is both alarmed and disturbed by the recent revelations attributed to him,” a rep for the singer told TMZ. “Mr. Kelly unequivocally denies such accusations and will work diligently and forcibly to pursue his accusers and clear his name.”
Linda Mensch, a civil lawyer in Chicago who represents the star, also provided an emailed statement to BuzzFeed in response.
We can only wonder why folks would persist in defaming a great artist who loves his fans, works 24/7, and takes care of all of the people in his life. He works hard to become the best person and artist he can be. It is interesting that stories and tales debunked many years ago turn up when his goal is to stop the violence; put down the guns; and embrace peace and love. I suppose that is the price of fame. Like all of us, Mr. Kelly deserves a personal life. Please respect that.
The “sex cult” claims are the latest allegations against Kelly, who since 2000, has faced multiple accusations of sexual misconduct involving minors.
In 2008, Kelly was acquitted on charges of child pornography related to a video of him having sex and peeing on a 14-year-old girl. He also married singer Aaliyah back in the 90s when she was just 15 years old and he was 27. The two were married by falsifying documents to state she was 18 at the time.
Kelly is currently performing at multiple venues across the U.S.