Things That Matter

R. Kelly Was Charged With Paying A Bribe To Government Official To Marry Aaliyah While She Was Underaged

Following the release of the explosive 2019 Lifetime documentary series “Surviving R. Kelly” the world has watched the American singer, songwriter, record producer face a slew of legal issues and criminal accusations. The six part documentary detailed the various sexual abuse all against the rapper and soon after launched criminal investigations and ultimately spurned 10 formal aggravated criminal sexual abuse charges against Kelly. The content of the documentary series, while of course shocking and disturbing for everyone who watched it, only confirmed years of allegations, rumors and even leaked video tapes that the rapper is a predator. In 2002 a video allegedly showed Kelly having sex with, and urinating on, an underage girl. Just a few years before, in 1994, rumors that he had illegally married the then 15-year-old singer Aaliyah sparked media sensation. 

It is this illegal marriage to an underaged child that  sparked federal prosecutors in New York to charge Kelly with bribery related to the 1994 purchase of a fake ID so that he and Aaliyah could obtain a marriage license over 25 years ago.

According to reports, Kelly has been indicted by a New York grand jury with one count of bribery.

In a report by the New York Times, the charge is said to be related to his obtainment of a false ID in 1994 so he could marry Aaliyah. The charge is part of a superseding indictment that was filed  by federal prosecutors in New York on Thursday. The indictment accuses  Kelly of bribing an Illinois government employee back in August 1994, to obtain “a fraudulent identification document for Jane Doe #1, an individual whose identity is known to the Grand Jury” and is related to the relationship between Kelly and Aaliyah who in 1994 was just 15 years old.  The fake ID obtained by Kelly was used to obtain a marriage license that listed Aaliyah’s age as 18. Kelly and Aaliyah’s arriage was later annulled in February 1995 by her parents and the two recording artists would deny that they had been married later on. Aaliyah died in a plane crash at age 22 in 2001 after they completed filming the music video for her song “Rock the Boat.”

In the years following the marriage, R. Kelly had various other allegations made about him regarding his involvement with minors. His marriage to Aaliyah has been used as evidence of his abuse of power and predatory behavior. The newest charge is, according to the New York Times, “expands on an existing racketeering indictment filed in New York against Mr. Kelly that accuses him of sexually exploiting underage girls and coercing them into illegal sexual activity. This year, Mr. Kelly, 52, has been criminally charged in several jurisdictions on allegations that he sexually abused minors.”

According to the New York Times, Kelly’s  broad racketeering chargein Brooklyn will give prosecutors the opportunity to introduce acts from any time period that were part of the alleged conspiracy. (Normally, Aaliyah’s case would have surpassed the statue of limitations.) The statute has typically been used to take down mob organizations.

Kelly’s defense attorney, Steve Greenberg, recently called the indictment “ridiculous.”

Speaking to  ABC’s “Good Morning America,” in an interview,  Greenberg said Kelly  had “no idea” that Aaliyah was 15 when they had been married.

In a separate statement about the new indictment Greenberg said that he and his team were “going to review the indictment, which we just got this afternoon. It doesn’t look like it materially changes anything in the case. We continue to work on this and look forward to the day Robert is free.”

This past July, Kelly was also charged in an indictment that accused him of violating the Mann Act. In the indictment prosecutors accuse Kelly of coercing and transporting women and girls across state lines to engage in illegal sexual activity. 

According to The New York Times report, “Among the evidence prosecutors have collected are records from the Illinois Department of Human Services and the Illinois secretary of state, the filing said. The new indictment did not specify which agency employed the individual who allegedly took a payoff from Mr. Kelly.”

The allegations state that he did this as far back as 1999 and details alleged incidents in four different states: Illinois, Connecticut, California and New York. Kelly pleaded not guilty to the charges in August.  

The New York based criminal trial is set to start next May in 2020.

According to The New York Times report, “Among the evidence prosecutors have collected are records from the Illinois Department of Human Services and the Illinois secretary of state, the filing said. The new indictment did not specify which agency employed the individual who allegedly took a payoff from Mr. Kelly.”

The allegations state that he did this as far back as 1999 and details alleged incidents in four different states: Illinois, Connecticut, California and New York. Kelly pleaded not guilty to the charges in August.  

The New York based criminal trial is set to start next May in 2020.

Victim In The R. Kelly Documentary Sequel Says He Made Her Commit To A Suicide Pact

Things That Matter

Victim In The R. Kelly Documentary Sequel Says He Made Her Commit To A Suicide Pact

rkelly / Instagram

Since the beginning of the #MeToo movement, people all over the country have found the courage to speak up about their experiences with sexual assault. This sense of empowerment has taken various forms, even resulting in the release of several shocking docuseries, like HBO’s Leaving Neverland and Lifetime’s Surviving R. Kelly. While Leaving Neverland consisted of just two harrowing episodes, Surviving R. Kelly offers a broad glimpse into the singer’s criminal past, spanning three separate installments of six troubling episodes.

The second season, Surviving R. Kelly Part II: The Reckoning, is set to premiere on January 2, 2020, and the trailer is full of deeply disturbing details.

Credit: Lifetime / Youtube

The trailer for the new season not only introduces new victims, but follows up with victims from Part I. Many of the women and their family members describe death threats they received after the release of Part I, as well as how they’ve managed to cope with the backlash. The four-minute video features victim Jerhonda Pace, who alleges that she was a part of a forced suicide pact of women who pledged to kill themselves if R. Kelly were to ever end up in prison. And the trailer ends with Dominique Gardner, R. Kelly’s live-in girlfriend who was rescued in Part I, who is ready to share her story.

During its debut in February of this year, Surviving R. Kelly had more than 26 million viewers and was the #1 trending topic on Twitter. Allegations against him have circulated since 1991, so talk about R. Kelly’s predatory behavior is nothing new—the difference now is that the world is finally taking his victims seriously. The Lifetime documentary has much to do with this paradigm shift: featuring accounts from 48 different women who were victimized by R. Kelly over the course of several decades, the documentary offers undeniable evidence that R. Kelly has been a dangerous force in the industry for far too long.

One of the most notable red flags of R. Kelly’s career appeared when he married the late singer Aaliyah. At the time, she was just 15 years old, and the world had to wonder: how did that happen? In the US, it is illegal to marry anyone under the age of 18 without a parent’s consent, and even then, 15 years old is still legally considered too young—plus, Aaliyah’s family absolutely did not consent to the marriage. It took until last month, 25 years later, for R. Kelly to be prosecuted for bribing an Illinois government employee on August 30, 1994, to obtain a fake ID that claimed Aaliyah was 18.

Although their marriage was later annulled at the request of Aaliyah’s family, Kelly’s behavior signaled a pattern of sexually exploiting underage girls that would persist over the next 20 years.

Credit: The Source

And the entertainment industry would turn a blind eye to Kelly’s influence for just as long. Until the release of Surviving R. Kelly, his behavior was often the subject of jokes and pop culture references, rather than being seen as a serious threat to the safety of several dozen women and girls. In 2002, when that famous video of him sexually engaging with (and urinating on) an underage girl came to light, he was indicted on 21 counts of child pornography—yet none of these charges resulted in convictions. Really, R. Kelly’s misconduct has never been a secret, but Surviving R. Kelly has led to justice for his victims, with a long list of criminal charges finally culminating in his arrest.

Yet R. Kelly has vehemently denied these allegations of abuse and manipulation. In case you missed it, he became emotionally unhinged during an interview with Gayle King of “CBS This Morning,” raising his voice, pounding his chest and crying when King challenges his claims. When asked why he chose to participate in the interview, he said, “I’m very tired of all the lies,” and insisted that he had “absolutely not” broken any laws when it “came to relationships with girls.” He claimed that everyone in the documentary “was describing Lucifer,” and that he “is not Lucifer,” before unleashing an explosive rant about what a good heart he has and insisting on his innocence.

“I have been assassinated,” he told King. “I’ve been buried alive.”

A conversation about R. Kelly’s attempt to convince viewers of his innocence emerged shortly after the interview aired, with Boston Globe columnist Renee Graham telling CBS News that in the interview, R. Kelly “came off as someone trying to manipulate the audience the way he has allegedly manipulated these women.” The second season of Surviving R. Kelly will focus more on this perspective, not only featuring new women with new allegations, but also psychologists, cultural experts and legal experts who might be able to offer insight on R. Kelly’s skewed perspective and the criminal consequences that await him.

In a Recent Interview, Harvey Weinstein Calls Himself “The Forgotten Man” and Claims He Was a Champion of Women

Entertainment

In a Recent Interview, Harvey Weinstein Calls Himself “The Forgotten Man” and Claims He Was a Champion of Women

@PageSix / Twitter

If you thought you heard the last of Harvey Weinstein, you were sadly mistaken. On Sunday, the disgraced former Hollywood producer sat down with The New York Post to defend his legacy. He also used the interview as an opportunity to hit back against accusations that he was exaggerating his injuries for public sympathy. 

In the December 15th interview, Weinstein called himself “the forgotten man” and lamented the fact that his “work has been forgotten” due to the avalanche of allegations that came out against him starting in 2017. “I made more movies directed by women and about women than any filmmaker, and I’m talking about 30 years ago,” Weinstein told The New York Post. “I’m not talking about now when it’s vogue. I did it first! I pioneered it!” 

According to The Post, Weinstein refused to address the allegations against him during the interview.

Weinstein is facing criminal charges over claims that he raped a woman in a hotel room in 2013 and sexual assaulted another woman in 2006. These are just two of dozens of allegations that have been publicly made against Weinstein. At his December 11th court appearance, his bail was raised to $2 million based off claims that he has been violating his ankle bracelet monitoring requirements.

According to the publication, Weinstein only agreed to the interview so he could set the record straight about the state of his health. According to Weinstein, he was forced to rely on a walker to attend his December 11th trial because of the recent surgery he underwent to address an injury he sustained from a car accident. “This was a major operation,” he told the Post.

In a shockingly tone-deaf move, Weinstein referred to Gwyneth Paltrow as one of the women whose careers he championed during his glory days.

“Gwyneth Paltrow in 2003 got $10 million to make a movie called ‘View from the Top,’ ” he said. “She was the highest-paid female actor in an independent film. Higher-paid than all the men”. Paltrow has previously gone on record to accuse Harvey Weinstein of sexually harassing her while she was an up-and-coming actor in the 90s.

As for his accusers, they refused to remain silent in the face of such outrageous claims. 

Over 20 of Weinstein’s accusers quickly responded to his interview, signing a statement condemning his comments.  “[Weinstein] says in a new interview he doesn’t want to be forgotten. Well, he won’t be,” the statement read. “He will be remembered as a sexual predator and an unrepentant abuser who took everything and deserves nothing. He will be remembered by the collective will of countless women who stood up and said enough.”

Weinstein accuser Ashley Judd also took to Twitter to address the shocking Post interview. “What Harvey Weinstein has said…is a classic example of DARVO. Denying. Attacking. Reversing. Victim. Order,” Judd wrote. “It is a predatorial strategy that seeks to shift attention away from his criminal behavior and put his toxic shame onto survivor victims.”

Rose McGowan, another actress who has accused Weinstein of sexual assault, also addressed Weinstein’s comments. “I didn’t forget you, Harvey. My body didn’t forget you. I wish it could,” she said.

Although Weinstein’s next court date is set for January, the former mogul still chooses to live in the past, when he was a successful and powerful producer.

“[The Weinstein Compay] was a company that took social issues and tackled them,” he told the New York Post. In another part of the interview, he confessed that he wanted New York “to recognize who I was instead of what I’ve become”. Based on the public reaction to his interview, that is simply wishful thinking.

Hollywood wasn’t the only group to condemn Weinstein’s comments.

Twitter was also appalled at the lack of self-awareness Weinstein displayed in his ill-conceived PR play with The New York Post.

This person was quick to point out Weinstein’s obvious lack of remorse for his actions:

It’s truly disappointing that this man can’t see the damage he’s done to countless women’s lives.

This person is skeptical of his claims of “major” health problems.

It seems rather convenient that he’s suddenly relying on a walker to move around. Especially when there’s recent evidence that he can get around without it.

This person assured Weinstein that he would never be a “forgotten” man:

The legacy of his evil deeds will live on long past the legacy of his movies.

This person is shocked that Weinstein is still thinking of his career when so many lives have been destroyed:

Just when you think this man can’t get any more twisted, he proves that his mind is darker than we could have imagined.