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R. Kelly Cancels NOLA Show Amid Sex Cult Rumors

R&B singer R. Kelly has been no stranger to controversy throughout his career, but his most recent scandal may prove to cause too much damage for the artist. Following an inflammatory BuzzFeed article released less than two weeks ago, the New Orleans stop of his “After Party” tour was canceled on Monday (7.31).  


Kelly was scheduled to perform at UNO Lakefront Arena on Friday, August 11th, with support from former Destiny's Child member LeToya Luckett. According to Ticketmaster, stops in Dallas and Baton Rouge were also canceled. Seven shows remained confirmed on his "After Party" tour as of press time. According to TMZ, the official cause for the cancellations were poor ticket sales — in part due to fallout from ongoing allegations that he is running a sex cult out of his Chicago and Atlanta homes.  


The BuzzFeed article in question alleged that the musician is holding women against their will, where he “controls every aspect of their lives: dictating what they eat, how they dress, when they bathe, when they sleep, and how they engage in sexual encounters that he records.” BuzzFeed contributor Jim DeRogatis reported that at least six women allegedly live with the musician in these conditions, with three sets of parents coming forward with these allegations. Kelly’s former personal assistant Cheryl Mack told BuzzFeed that the women in his circle initially think they will be offered “a lavish lifestyle” with the musician. “No. You have to ask for food. You have to ask to go use the bathroom. ... [Kelly] is a master at mind control. … He is a puppet master.” 


In his 25 year career, R. Kelly has had many run-ins with scandal. He first made headlines when it was discovered he married then 15-year-old Aaliyah, his protege who he worked with on her album Age Ain’t Nothing but a Number. In February 2002, a video surfaced that allegedly showed Kelly urinating on and having sex with an underage female, a claim that the singer denied. This investigation led to his eventual indictment on 21 counts of child pornography, which were dropped in March 2004 due to warrant issues with the police. In June 2008, all charges against R. Kelly were dismissed in relation to his child pornography and sex tape case. DeRogatis was the one who first broke the story of the purported R. Kelly sex tape, and was named a witness in this trial as he received a copy of the videotape anonymously while employed as a Chicago Sun-Times music critic and turned it over to the police. 


R. Kelly has vocally denied the recent sex cult allegations. On July 27th, the artist posted a video to his social media in which he said, “Believe me y’all, it’s a bunch of crap.” Earlier on Monday (7.31), Page Six reported that Kelly retained Monique Pressley, Bill Cosby's former defense lawyer, to help with the damage control following the allegations. There is no word if he plans to rescheduled the New Orleans show at a later date. 

Erin Rose
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