Parents have told police that musician R. Kelly is holding their daughters "against their will" in a "cult," according to BuzzFeed News.
The parents of a 19-year-old from Atlanta told BuzzFeed that their daughter met R. Kelly -- real name Robert Kelly -- backstage at a concert in the city, and the 50-year-old musician invited their daughter her to fly out to a concert at his expense. The parents thought the invitation could benefit their daughter's music career.
Two years later, the woman's parents, whose names were withheld by BuzzFeed, claim she is living at his house "against her will" and in a "cult."
They said they have not seen her daughter since December.
“It was as if she was brainwashed. [She] looked like a prisoner — it was horrible,” the woman's mother told BuzzFeed. “I hugged her and hugged her. But she just kept saying she’s in love and [Kelly] is the one who cares for her."
Three people who used to be affiliated with R. Kelly's inner circle -- Cheryl Mack, Kitti Jones and Asante McGee -- told BuzzFeed that six women are living on properties rented by the singer in Chicago and in suburbs of Atlanta and that he controls every aspect of their lives.
Mack, R. Kelly's former personal assistant, said the singer controls the women's phone and social media usage while they were under his roof. He said that if any of the women break Kelly’s “rules,” the singer punishes them physically and verbally.
“R. Kelly is the sweetest person you will ever want to meet,” McGee, who previously lived with R. Kelly, told Buzzfeed. “But Robert is the devil.”
R. Kelly's attorney, Linda Mensch, denied the accusations.
“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," she said to Buzzfeed.