R. Kelly fans stand by singer, offer to pay bail despite sex-assault charges
NOTE: This article contains graphic, sexual language that some readers may find offensive and disturbing. Please read at your own discretion.
When R&B singer R. Kelly was released from jail Monday night, three days after being charged with criminal sexual abuse, he was greeted by fans shouting “Free Kells!” according to the Chicago Tribune.
The World’s Greatest singer walked by a large media contingent without speaking and was ushered into a black vehicle that was waiting. The vehicle then drove off.
WATCH BELOW: R. Kelly makes bond, leaves jail after spending weekend in Chicago jail on sex abuse charges
The large, black van transporting Kelly from a jail in Chicago stopped in the parking lot of a large showcase McDonald’s in downtown Chicago.
READ MORE: R. Kelly released on bail in Chicago
The entertainer didn’t immediately emerge from the vehicle Monday evening but some members of his entourage stood outside the vehicle and a dark-coloured Mercedes-Benz parked next to it.
According to the Chicago Sun-Times, several women sat on the hood of a car that was parked next to Kelly’s van. They were taking pictures and dancing after Kelly exited the fast food restaurant.
“R. Kelly’s first stop after getting out of jail is the McDonald’s in River North,” tweeted Sun-Times reporter Nader Issa. “Fans are playing his music in the parking lot.”
Footage of Kelly’s Monday night McDonald’s jaunt showed him and his entourage ordering food and eating it in a booth. As they were leaving and Kelly was getting into a van, a female fan yelled, “I love you! I love you! I love you!” Kelly waved. His group later went to a cigar bar in the ritzy Gold Coast neighbourhood.
After many people found out of Kelly’s whereabouts, social media lit up with reminders of allegations in the documentary Surviving R. Kelly that the R&B star would search for teen girls at McDonald’s restaurants.
“He would cruise McDonald’s near high schools and have someone from his team go up to a girl, get her number,” the documentary’s executive producer, Dream Hampton, said during a recent NPR interview. The location where he ate Monday, which used to be known as the Rock-N-Roll McDonald’s, was one of the locations he’d frequent, she said.
There have also been stories over the years about Kelly’s affinity for the ubiquitous burger chain, including when he worked the drive-through window at a St. Louis location after a 2004 performance in that city. And in an interview posted on YouTube, Kelly, who grew up on Chicago’s South Side, recalled going to McDonald’s every morning with his mother, where the two split a coffee and a Danish because that was “all we could afford.”
There is a Facebook page called, R. KELLY’S SINGLE LADIES, which is used for fans to share their intense devotion to the 52-year-old singer.
The group, which has over 11,000 members, is used by fans of the singer to share their thoughts on the singer and the criminal accusations he faces.
“Bae has a sexy walk on him… welcome home,” one woman wrote on a photo Kelly after he was released from prison.
Other members of the group post photos of tattoos they gave gotten in dedication to the singer. Some include the singer’s autograph and others are pictures of the singer’s face.
Cook County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Sophia Ansari said Monday that Kelly posted his US$100,000 bail after spending the weekend in jail.
The R&B singer’s bail amount was 10 per cent of the $1-million bond set by a judge Saturday.
Court records show a 47-year-old woman from the Chicago suburb of Romeoville, Ill., posted the $100,000 bail and identified herself on the bond slip as “a friend” of Kelly, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Valencia Love has confirmed she was the “friend” who posted Kelly’s bail while speaking to Fox32 News’ Tia Ewing.
The 47-year-old business woman told Ewing she believes Kelly is innocent, but would not clarify whether the $100,000 she paid was hers or the singer’s money.
WATCH BELOW: The latest on R. Kelly
“I’m not going to say it was my money or [Kelly’s] and he’s not broke,” the woman said, according to the reporter. “He’s my friend and I knew he needed help.”
“He was going to get out regardless,” she said. “I just went out there to help my friend.”
“I wasn’t there, you wasn’t there. Give him the chance and allow him to prove his innocence,” Love told Ewing. “He’s not a monster. … He’s only been a gentleman to me.”
She continued: “Let him have his chance in court to prove if he’s innocent or guilty. As a friend, if he says he’s innocent, I can only believe that he is innocent.”
Love went on to say that she does not support pedophilia or the abuse of women. She questioned why authorities aren’t paying more attention to other sexual abuse cases.
“Look at all these priests, why isn’t anyone going after them?” she asked. “The prosecutors and attorney general need to be prosecuting the priests that were sleeping with five- and six-year-old children.”
Prosecutors have charged Kelly, 52, with 10 counts of aggravated sexual abuse pertaining to four women, including three who were minors when the abuse allegedly occurred. The alleged abuse dates back as far as 1998 and spanned more than a decade.
Kelly, whose real name is Robert Kelly and who is perhaps best known for the hit I Believe I Can Fly, has pleaded not guilty to the new charges and has denied wrongdoing.
WATCH BELOW: The latest on R. Kelly
Kelly has long been trailed by allegations that he preyed upon underage girls and women and held some as virtual slaves. He was tried and acquitted of child pornography charges in 2008 after prosecutors said a graphic video showed him having sex with a girl as young as 13. He and she both denied they were in the video, even though the picture quality was good and witnesses testified it was them, and she did not take the stand.
A lawyer for two accusers in the current case against Kelly says he secured two videos of the singer having sex with an underage girl or girls and turned them over to the authorities.
If you or someone you know is experiencing abuse or is involved in an abusive situation, please visit the Canadian Resource Centre for Victims of Crime for help. They are also reachable toll-free at 1-877-232-2610.
—With files from the Associated PressFollow @KatieScottNews
© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.