WMC News & Features

Yet another woman accuses R. Kelly of assault

Rkelly New 5 23 18
R. Kelly during his 2008 trial for possession of child pornography. (WBEZ)

Adding to a long string of accusations stretching back decades, yet another woman has come forward with claims against R&B singer R. Kelly, alleging that he coerced her into sex, mentally and physically abused her, and deliberately infected her with herpes.

Faith Rodgers, 20, says she met Kelly when she was 19 and dated him for nearly a year. Interviewed on Tuesday by CBS News, Rodgers recalled what Kelly allegedly said to her after the first time they had sex. “He asks me how old I was and I told him,” Rodgers said. “And he’s like, ‘you know if you’re really 16 that you can tell Daddy, right?’ And he was like, ‘You just look about 14, 15, or 16.’”  

The 51-year-old musician has long been accused of engaging in sexual misconduct with young women and girls. In 1994, he married Aaliyah, his 15-year-old protégé, (Kelly was 27 at the time, and the marriage was later annulled). He has since been sued several times by women alleging sexual abuse, including in 1996 and 2001, and also been through more than one criminal inquiry. In 2008, Kelly was acquitted on charges of child pornography after his attorneys convinced a jury that they could not be certain of the age or identity of a young woman depicted in a video.  

In July 2017, Jim DeRogatis, a Chicago reporter who has been investigating allegations against Kelly for more than 15 years, published a story on BuzzFeed about the singer’s supposed sex “cult.” According to the journalist’s sources, Kelly was housing six women in properties in and around Chicago and Atlanta, and controlled “every aspect of their lives: dictating what they eat, how they dress, when they bathe, when they sleep, and how they engage in sexual encounters that he records.” Kelly has long denied the allegations against him.  

Faith Rodgers says she met the pop star in San Antonio in March 2017. After about two months of phone calls and texting, Rodgers says he flew her to New York to attend a show, and paid for her hotel. The next morning he visited her hotel room, turned on all the lights and ordered her to take her clothes off, she says.  

Rodgers says she was not prepared to have sex but ultimately “submitted” to what Kelly was demanding. “He has this type of, like, intimidation right off the bat,” Rodgers told CBS “You know? So I was just waiting for it to be over.” She also maintains that he was abusive, and routinely locked her in a van. “You know, I chose to walk away,” she told CBS News, explaining why she filed the lawsuit. “What about the ones who don't walk away?”  

Last summer, several activists launched the #MuteRKelly campaign to end the music industry’s support for Kelly’s work. This past April, women of color members of the Hollywood organization Time’s Up came out in support of the campaign—and on May 10, Spotify announced it was removing Kelly from their branded playlists and algorithms. His albums remain on the site though, and it appears his music is as popular as ever. On Tuesday, AP reported that from May 10 to May 16, Kelly’s weekly streams for Spotify and a number of other platforms actually exceeded his average for the year.




Sign up for our Newsletter

Learn more about topics like these by signing up for Women’s Media Center’s newsletter.