Azriel Clary and Joycelyn Savage, two women living with R. Kelly, were interviewed by Gayle King in the second half of King’s troubling sit-down with the pop star over the decades of allegations of sexual abuse against him. The women, 21 and 23 respectively, believe that their families are isolated in a “sex cult”, allegedly led by Kelly from the time they were 17 and 19 years old, as described in Lifetime’s culture-shifting series Surviving R. Kelly.
Clary and Savage have in the past released videos that guarantee their own safety, but their first national interview on the subject is somehow more disturbing and surreal than the Instagrams that their parents are feasting on. Each maintains that they have a “relationship” with Kelly and that they are in love with him; that their parents are “manipulative liar [s]” (Clary) and “here try to get money and scam
Savage is calm and even detached during the interview, but Clary is defensive, almost combative, before bursting into tears. Her defensive attitude is well-known, in the tone of a young woman who wants to defy her parents ‘grip when she grows into an independent woman, but takes a total distance from her parents’ accusations – that Kelly has kept her from them, that she have not seen her in three years that she has been ‘brainwashed’. She accuses her parents of threatening to release nude photos of her when Kelly ‘has not sent’ $ 20,000 by Monday ‘and’ tries to ask me as if I’m some fucking fucking guy. I am not; I am your child. “
It is at this point that she crumbles: “I am crying because you do not know the truth.” You believe some damned façade that our parents say.This is all damned lies for money … What they are doing now is all for money. ”
Clary’s emotions are poignant and it seems pretty clear that she believes what she says and is deeply impressed; the question King does not ask is whether Clary talked directly with her parents about the nudes and the $ 20,000, or whether that information came directly from Kelly himself. But both Clary and Savage’s accusations that their parents are trying to leak money from Kelly is back in 2019’s other paradigm-shifting documentary about abuse accusations against a pop star, Leaving Neverland. In the two-part HBO film that focuses on Wade Robson and James Safechuck, all of whom claim that Michael Jackson abused them for years when they were children, the idea of ”doing it for the money,” they say, was repeated by Jackson over and about to them and their trusted parents during the two lawsuits against the population against the pop star. Just as Kelly surrounded himself as a victim in his interviews with King, Jackson did the same; insisting that the parents of Jordan Chandler and Gavin Arizo used their children as pawns in a greedy game to take advantage of his fame and wealth.
“They do it for the money” is a frequently heard answer against victims of abuse against rich and powerful men – it says a lot about wealth and fame as American cultural values, how money itself has more consequences than the underclass that makes the accusations. It is practically Ayn Randian, the idea that money is a driving force so powerful that multiple people would be willing to improve their lives and submit to the kind of public humiliation that follows the accusations of sexual abuse against a powerful person; it is a reaction that, ironically, underlines the power of the accused, that he has in abundance something that makes a person so desperate that they swap his own child to reach it.
Whether the ‘doing for money’ defense still works in this era – the first in which accusers are more often believed – has yet to be seen. On Wednesday evening, after Kelly had been jailed for non-payment of child support, the Detroit Police Department announced that it was investigating another allegation that Kelly had sexually attacked a 13-year-old girl in 2001 and that he had given her herpes when she was 17 . The prosecutor had no name.