The third and fourth episodes of Lifetime’s Surviving R. Kelly Part II: The Reckoning docuseries aired on Friday night, revealing more of R. Kelly’s dark past of alleged sexual abuse. The first two episodes, which aired on January 2, covered the singer’s own experiences with child abuse at the hands of family members and family friends, before introducing new alleged survivors, including Tiffany Hawkins, who was the first survivor to take legal action against Kelly. The Complex Music team has outlined the biggest takeaways and things we learned from night two of Surviving R. Kelly Part II below. You can read everything we learned from the first night here.
R. Kelly was allegedly involved in a suicide pact with one of the survivors
At the conclusion of the first episode on night two of Surviving R. Kelly Part II: The Reckoning, we learn details about a suicide pact that Kelly allegedly made with one of the survivors. Jerhonda Pace, one of the women named in Kelly’s Cook County pornography case, detailed a pact she made in the event that the singer were to be arrested. “With Rob, I was a part of a suicide pact with him, and if anything was to happen to him, if he was to go to jail or someone was to harm him, I was supposed to kill myself,” she tearfully explains.
Pace says Kelly discussed with her, in detail, about how she should commit suicide in the event he was taken away. The pact was made while she and Kelly were in the “mirror room,” a room in the singer’s home that has previously been described as a place where he allegedly took women to have sex with them. “He told me that if I was everything to him, like, that I say he is, there would be no life worth living,” she continues.
Pace alleges that Kelly instructed her to take pills from a bottle that he would hide in the pocket of a suit that was hung below a television in the room. “When I was with him, I was really ready to take my own life, because Rob, he was everything to me,” Pace says. “Rob was my life.”
No other survivor has confirmed whether they had a suicide pact with Kelly, and Pace does not state whether the pact involved any of Kelly’s other alleged captors. Joycelyn Savage’s parents have previously expressed concern of a potential suicide pact between their daughter and Kelly. The parents of Azriel Clary, Kelly’s “lived-in girlfriend” and suspected captor, have rejected that rumor.
Survivor Dominique Garner details alleged abuse and escape
The first part of Surviving R. Kelly, which originally aired in 2019, detailed the harrowing story of Dominique Garner. We learned that Dominique was introduced to R. Kelly by her friend Jerhonda Pace nine years ago, and according to her mother’s account, she allegedly dated Kelly for six years, before relocating from Chicago to Atlanta. Once she moved, she ceased all communication with her mother.
The 2019 series showed Dominique’s rescue by her mother, Michelle Kramer, and Lifetime’s camera crew on May 11, 2018. In Part II, Gardner agrees to speak on the record about her experiences on September 8, 2019, after she left Kelly.
Gardener recalls the day she left the hotel where she was staying with Joycelyn Savage. She describes being distraught about leaving Savage behind: “I felt bad for leaving her because it was like we was all we had. So, it’s tough. It was hard for me because that’s not my heart. I don’t just leave people hanging. So, it was very painful for me.”
Later, Gardner and Kramer describe the alleged abuse Gardner experienced during her nine-year relationship with Kelly. Gardner was often described as “rebellious” and “talkative” and was known to disobey Kelly’s rules. She would rebel against Kelly by getting food or going places without Kelly’s permission. Gardner recalled one incident in which she “disrespected” Kelly at a party because she did not get up from her seat when he told her to come to him. As punishment for her defiance, Gardner would get “whoopings” with items like extension chords or other items that were handy, Kramer alleges.
Kelly was allegedly so violent with Gardner that he pulled out patches of her hair, causing her to cut her hair short. Gardner also says that she was left many times without food or water. “The longest I ever went by myself was a week and a half,” she says. “I felt lonely, sad, because I didn’t want to live anymore.”
Gardner says she has been traumatized by her experiences. Her mother appears to allude to insomnia, as well as drug and alcohol abuse, following her daughter’s escape, although she does not elaborate on this in detail. Gardner also states that she caught herself being scared of breaking Kelly’s rules even after she had cut contact with him.
Three weeks after her escape, Gardner returned to Kelly because she “didn’t 100 percent leave on her own” and wanted to check on Joycelyn Savage. Although she says she did not face any consequences when she returned to Kelly, and even formed a “bond” with him, she ultimately decided to leave a second time and return to her mother and family.
R. Kelly allegedly included a male in sexual activity with female survivors and is attracted to boys, according to an anonymous employee
After the first part of the Surviving R. Kelly aired in 2019, many viewers, as well as Kramer, noticed Gardner’s change in appearance when she was with the singer, as she started to dress and look like a boy. When asked whether Kelly wanted her to look like a boy, Gardner says, “I prefer not to talk about that.”
An anonymous employee agreed to speak on the record about whether Kelly was interested in men and young boys, under the condition that their voice was altered and identity was concealed. According to the anonymous employee, R. Kelly was attracted to young men and allegedly had one male participate in sexual acts with him and his alleged female captors. “I was not aware of Robert having attractions to boys until a couple of the girls in the house started to talk about there being a guy that he was involved with who would sometimes come into the bedroom with them,” the employee states.
It is unclear whether this unknown male was underage, or if he was a willing or forced participant. No other survivors have gone on the record and said that a man or boy was present during their alleged experiences with Kelly.
Kelly allegedly forced survivors and their families to sign false documents that undermined their credibility
Nondisclosure agreements are a major reason why R. Kelly was able to continue his lifestyle for so long. Kelly allegedly had women sign NDAs in exchange for their silence, and as we learned on Thursday night, attorney Susan E. Loggans brokered over a dozens settlements for survivors in exchange for them signing NDAs.
Kelly also allegedly had survivors and their families sign other documents. Joycelyn Savage, Kelly’s current “girlfriend” and suspected captor was forced to sign a document stating that she was molested by her father, both of her parents allege. They say Kelly threatened to release that signed document if Joycelyn spoke out against him. The Savage’s state their daughter was never molested by her father or any family member.
Survivor Halle Calhoun also recalls an instance in which her mother was asked to sign false documents. Calhoun allegedly met Kelly at a concert that she attended with her mom when she was 20 years old. Following that encounter, Calhoun says she became Kelly’s girlfriend and lived with him for three and a half years. Calhoun alleges their relationship was often abusive.
According to Calhoun, her mother met with Kelly privately after asking to visit her daughter. Kelly asked Calhoun’s mother to meet him in a private sauna in a towel to avoid their conversation being recorded. In the sauna, Kelly asked her mother to sign documents that would protect him in the event that Calhoun was asked questions about the nature of their relationship.
Asante McGee, Jerhonda Pace, and Dominique Gardener, were all asked to write and sign letters or send texts that would help Kelly’s case. The letters often included lies or made-up stories about how their parents abused them or details that would shine a positive light on Kelly.
Docuseries participants are critical of Dave Chappelle’s Netflix special and other parodies of R. Kelly’s case
The docuseries takes a critical stance on the comedic skits and parodies of Kelly’s case before and after the airing of Surviving R. Kelly in 2019. Reporters and critics argue that parodies like this cause harm to survivors and culture as a whole. Docuseries participants take aim at comedians like Dave Chappelle and Aziz Ansari, who were mentioned because of their standup routines that made light of Kelly’s ongoing legal cases in connection to child pornography and sexual abuse.
Jim DeRogatis, author of Soulless: The Case Against R. Kelly, discusses Chappelle’s long history of mentioning R. Kelly in comedic works, from his infamous “Piss On You” sketch on Chappelle’s Show to his commentary in the 2019 Netflix special, Sticks & Stones. In the Netflix special, Chappelle said that he believed Kelly was guilty of the crimes he was accused of and explained why he did not participate in Surviving R. Kelly. But DeRogatis suggests Chappelle had a bigger responsibility.
“How powerful would it have been if Chappelle took a minute and a half to say, ‘I had some skits back in the day about R. Kelly and now I have been made to realize the pain he caused people who could have been my daughters, my sisters, my wife. And it’s wrong,’” DeRogatis says. “I mean, that would have counted. That would have mattered. Chappelle never did that.”