American R&B singer-songwriter R Kelly appeared in an explosive television interview on Wednesday, in which he defended himself against the ten counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse that he has been charged with. At least nine of those charges involve minor girls.
Kelly spent three nights in custody in relation to the charges and was released on February 25 after furnishing a bond of $100,000, Chicago Sun Times reported. He was arrested again on Wednesday evening for failing to pay $1,61,000 in child support to his ex-wife.
In the interview with Gayle King on CBS This Morning, Kelly maintained his innocence, yelling “I don’t need to, why would I?” when King asked him if he had ever held women against their will, as reported by BuzzFeed News in July 2017. The musician repeatedly shouted, broke down in tears and jumped out of his chair during the interview, urging people to “use common sense” as to why someone with his past would do such a thing. Kelly was indicted on 13 counts of child pornography in 2002, but was acquitted of all charges in 2008.
The interview, Kelly’s first since he was released from custody, came just a few weeks after the release of Surviving R Kelly, a six-part documentary series detailing sexual abuse allegations against the singer.
Kelly’s interview caused a storm on social media, with many pointing to the aggression displayed by him towards King and his erratic answers to her questions.
A Twitter user commented that “Kelly might have taken acting lessons from Jussie Smollett”, the TV actor who was taken into custody for allegedly staging a hate crime.
Talk show host Jimmy Kimmel said that the interview might be the “first time a defendant ever pleaded insanity during an interview”.
The charges against R Kelly span from the period between 1998 and 2010, Time.com reported, and he could face up to 70 years in prison if proven guilty.