R&B singer Robert Kelly (R Kelly) has denied allegations that he is holding several young women in an “abusive cult”.
A BuzzFeed had in a report accuses the singer of brainwashing women, who got closer to him in an effort to boost their musical careers.
“We stand fully behind the story, which was based on nine months of interviews and old-fashioned investigative reporting,” BuzzFeed said.
The report cited interviews with two families and three former associates of Kelly. The article cited one mother saying the set-up was a “cult.”
The report, also quoted three unnamed sets of parents, say they had not seen or spoken with their daughters for months, and that the women, all of them over the age of consent, had their routines controlled by the singer.
That included rules about what they could eat and wear, when to bath and sleep and how to engage in sexual encounters recorded by him.
Three former members of Kelly’s inner circle who were also interviewed, said six women lived in properties managed by the singer in similar conditions.
If they broke the “rules”, they said, the women could be punished physically and verbally by the singer, the report said.
However, one of the women, Joycelyn Savage, 21, told the TMZ website she was not in a cult.
In a video posted hours after the allegations emerged, Ms Savage said: “I’m in a happy place in my life. I’m not being brainwashed or anything like that.”
R Kelly has however denied any wrongdoing.
His attorney Linda Mensch has released a statement, saying R Kelly is both alarmed and disturbed at the recent revelations attributed to him and that he will work diligently and forcibly to pursue his accusers and clear his name.
He has faced previous accusations of sexual misconduct, but was never found guilty.
It would be recalled that in 2008, the singer was acquitted of 14 charges of making child pornography after a videotape emerged allegedly showing him having sex with a 14-year-old girl.
R Kelly is one of the most successful R&B artists of all time, with 40 million records sold worldwide. His best known hits include I Believe I Can Fly and Ignition (Remix).