For his first interview since being charged with multiple counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse in Chicago, R. Kelly sat down with CBS' Gayle King for a tense discussion in which the singer vehemently denied the allegations against him.
"Everybody says something bad about me," Kelly told King, who repeatedly had to steer the discussion back to a true interview format due to Kelly's verbosity, when addressing the documentary that inspired renewed interest in the Kelly allegations. "Nobody said nothin' good. They was describing Lucifer. I'm not Lucifer. I'm a man. I make mistakes, but I'm not a devil, and by no means am I a monster."
Kelly said multiple times during their conversation that all alleged victims, including those at the center of his recent arrest, are lying. "I have been assassinated," he said. "I have been buried alive, but I'm alive."
Later, when King noted that Kelly’s argument that all the women who have accused him of some form of misconduct or abuse are lying "defies logic," Kelly spread the blame to social media and reality television.
"All you have to do is push a button on your phone and say so and so did this to me, R. Kelly did this to me, and if you get any traction from that, if you're able to write a book from that, if you're able to get a reality show… then any girl that I had a relationship in the past that it just didn't work out, she can come and say the same exact thing," he said.
However, the wheels didn't really come off until nearer the end of the interview. When asked to clarify if he had ever held anyone against their will (as has been alleged), Kelly became emotional, eventually abandoning his chair and speaking directly to the camera.
"How stupid would I be to do that?" Kelly said. "That's stupid, guys. Is this camera on me? That's stupid. Use your common sense. Forget the blogs, forget how you feel about me. Hate me if you want to, love me if you want to. But just use your common sense . . . Y'all quit playing. I didn't do this stuff This is not me! I'm fighting for my fucking life! Y'all killing me with this shit. I gave y'all 30 years of my career! 30 years of my career and y'all trying to kill me? You're killing me, man. This is not about music. I'm trying to have a relationship with my kids and I can't do it! Y'all just don't wanna believe the truth. You don't wanna believe it."
After clips of the interview aired, attorney Michael Avenatti shared his assessment, saying Kelly "demonstrates his guilt."
Upon his arrest last month, Kelly's bond was set at $1 million. After spending several nights behind bars, Kelly's bond was paid by a woman identified in court documents as a "friend" of the singer. Kelly—who is accused in this case of abusing four women, three of whom who were alleged underage at the time—ultimately pleaded not guilty to 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse.