For some reason, people are still giving R&B singer R Kelly a chance to tell his side of the story. In a totally undeserved and unprecedented move, the singer – who has numerous sexual abuse allegations against him to match a history of systemic predatory behaviour – has given a candid interview with GQ magazine. Or at least, as candid as his lawyers permit.
The article suggests that Kelly holds nothing back in his responses. In reality, it seems he continues to evade questions regarding his history of sexual abuse and gives half-arsed accounts of his relationship with the late Aaliyah – who was fifteen when they were allegedly married.
The article opens: This is a story about an entertainer named R. Kelly. It is a story about the remarkable, but also very strange, pop talent he has. It is a story about the difficult places he came from and the ways they may, or may not, have shaped who he has become. It is also the story of a man who has been publicly accused of multiple sexual offenses with underage women, and who stood trial for making child pornography. He was eventually acquitted of that charge, and his career has continued uninterrupted, but for the most part he has evaded even the most basic questions that might help people understand what is true about him.
But, when asked directly about the sexual assault allegations against him – specifically those pertaining to a video of him having sex with an underage girl and urinating in her mouth, Kelly continues to evade these questions by giving the typical cop out response,
“[pause] Because of my lawyers, to this day I cannot have those kind of conversations. Being advised by my lawyers in this.”
Tastelessly titled The Confessions of R Kelly, Chris Heath‘s article also gives the singer air to defend his relationship with the late Aaliyah when she was just 15-years-old.
Yes. I would say I loved ‘liyah… there’s a lot of ways to be in love with a person. I was in love with my grandfather, you know. But yeah, I would say I was in love with Aaliyah just like I was in love with anybody else. But in a different, friend type of way.
Whatever the fuck that is meant to mean…
Then, for some reason, the interview gets even worse when Kelly is asked to share his view of the ongoing court case against actor Bill Cosby, for some reason.
Well, my opinion on that is, I don’t know what happened. I’m a fan of Bill Cosby’s from the Bill Cosby show, of course—who’s not?—and for me to give my opinion on something that I have no idea if it’s true or not, all I can say is that it was a long time ago. And when I look on TV and I see the 70-, 80-, 90-year-old ladies talking about what happened when they were 17, 18, or 19, there’s something strange about it. That’s my opinion. It’s just strange.
Yeah, strange. Strange that hoards of women have finally found the confidence to speak out about a huge celebrity sexually abusing them. Real strange.
Kelly isn’t the first celebrity to question the authenticity of the claims being made against Bill Cosby by numerous women; most recently, rapper Waka Flocka recently tweeted that he felt someone was framing Cosby.
I really feel like somebody is framing Bill Cosby
— Waka Flocka (@WakaFlocka) January 1, 2016
Considering Kelly’s own history with sexual abuse allegations, his words leave a particularly sour taste. Throughout the interview, he goes on to describe the sexual abuse he endured as a child, stating that he feels it is perhaps a generational problem. A generational problem, he asserts, ended with him.
I, well, definitely forgive them. As I’m older, I look at it and I know that it had to be not just about me and them, but them and somebody older than them when they were younger, and whatever happened to them when they were younger. I looked at it as if there was a sort of like, I don’t know, a generational curse, so to speak, going down through the family. Not just started with her doing that to me…
It’s really not about breaking it. There’s things that you don’t want to do that you’re not gonna do. It was just as simple as that. I want to be able to be a father to my kids, where I’ve never seen my father, but my kids can see me whenever they want, so that was broken... The poverty part was broken. And I feel the child-molestation part, that definitely was broken. But of course you gonna be misunderstood because you R. Kelly, and the success and things get mixed up in the music, and people take the words you sing in your songs and try to pound that on your head and say, ‘Ahh! You did do it—look what you just wrote over here.’
If you’d like to spend the rest of your day questioning why in 2016 we are still allowing people with a history of sexual abuse to defend themselves so that we might “understand what is true about” them while their victims’ claims and motives are brought into question by powerful and influential people, you can read the interview its in entirety on the GQ website.