R. Kelly cancels tour dates amid “cult” allegations.

R. Kelly Cancels Tour Dates Amid Allegations That He Is Keeping Women in an Abusive “Cult”

R. Kelly Cancels Tour Dates Amid Allegations That He Is Keeping Women in an Abusive “Cult”

Brow Beat
Slate's Culture Blog
Aug. 1 2017 12:46 PM

R. Kelly Cancels Tour Dates Amid Allegations That He Is Keeping Women in an Abusive “Cult”

Are the allegations against R. Kelly finally gaining traction with his fans?
Are the allegations against R. Kelly finally gaining traction with his fans?

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Three weeks ago, Jim DeRogatis wrote an article for BuzzFeed surfacing new allegations that R. Kelly was holding young women in abusive sexual relationships as part of what one woman’s mother referred to as a “cult.” Now, it looks like Kelly might be facing the fallout from these new allegations (which Kelly denies), as the crooner has officially canceled multiple upcoming tour dates.

As Billboard reports, Ticketmaster’s website shows that three of Kelly’s August tour dates—in New Orleans, Baton Rouge, and Dallas—have been officially canceled. According to TMZ, Kelly’s Los Angeles date has been canceled as well. The singer is still expected to play at least six other scheduled shows.

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TMZ reported that the dates were canceled because of low ticket sales, and that Kelly’s show in Virginia on Friday night drew only a small crowd. During that show, the Trapped in a Closet singer reportedly rubbed a fan’s phone on his crotch and invited another fan to touch him.

More details surrounding the BuzzFeed story have emerged during the last three weeks. The parents of one of the women, who came out as two of the sources cited in DeRogatis’ article, held a press conference in Atlanta shortly after the allegations were published. Their daughter later responded in a video published by TMZ in which she says she is doing fine, and that she isn’t being held against her will.  On Sunday, the Washington Post reported that the BuzzFeed story was originally turned down by three other news outlets due to fears of a Hulk Hogan v. Gawker–like lawsuit.

Kelly, for his part, has denied the allegations, with his lawyer telling USA Today, “Mr. Robert Kelly is both alarmed and disturbed at the recent revelations attributed to him. Mr. Kelly unequivocally denies such allegations and will work diligently and forcibly to pursue his accusers and clear his name.”

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Austin Elias-de Jesus is a Slate editorial intern.