Few shows have had the real-life impact of Surviving R. Kelly. Since the documentary special aired on Lifetime a year ago, Kelly has been dropped by his record label, was indicted on multiple charges, and is currently being held in federal custody without bail.
Although allegations about Kelly’s sexual abuse have swirled for decades, his fall was nevertheless precipitous. It’s hard to imagine it happening if not for Surviving R. Kelly. The six-part special laid out his predatory pattern with devastating clarity and detail, prompting law enforcement officials from around the country to ask victims to come forward. Those courageous enough to do so have helped prosecutors from Chicago to New York to Minnesota build their case against the former R&B star (Kelly has repeatedly stated that the charges against him are false).
Some of those individuals will be featured in Surviving R. Kelly – Part II: The Reckoning. The new three-night special promises “interviews from a variety of perspectives including with new survivors, supporters, psychologists and cultural and legal experts,” according to Lifetime. Given the sheer number of charges and allegations, it can be tough to keep track of all that’s happened, so we put together a list of Kelly news events from 2019. Get up to speed below and be sure to tune-in to Lifetime for the premiere of Surviving R. Kelly – Part II: The Reckoning on Thurs., Jan. 2 at 9pm ET.
January 2019 – Kelly is dropped by his label, Sony Music
Following the release of Surviving R. Kelly, the singer is dropped by his longtime label, Sony music.
February 2019 – The first indictments
Spurred by the Lifetime special, Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx indicts Kelly on 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse involving underage girls. After turning himself into police, Kelly pleads not guilty to the charges and is released on $100,000 bail.
March 2019 – “I’m fighting for my f–king life!”
In a bizarre spectacle, R. Kelly sits down with Gayle King of CBS This Morning for his first interview since being charged. At one point, Kelly rages about his innocence directly into the camera, claiming that he would have to be “stupid” to commit the crimes he’s accused of. The day the interview airs, Kelly is arrested for failing to pay his ex-wife over $160,000 in child support. Later in the month, attorney Gloria Allred claims to be in possession of a video that shows Kelly engaging in sex acts with “more than one” underage girl.
July 2019 – Locked up
In May, Cook County prosecutors hit Kelly with 11 more charges of sexual abuse. Then on July 11, the U.S. attorney’s office arrests Kelly on federal charges based on incidents involving five minors in four states. After Assistant U.S. Attorney Angel Krull calls Kelly “an extreme danger to the community, especially minor girls,” U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber orders Kelly to be held without bond.
August 2019 – Up north trip
On Aug. 5, Kelly is charged with prostitution and solicitation in Minnesota based on an allegation that he paid $200 to a 17-year-old girl to dance naked for him in 2001. Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said his office investigated the case following a call to the Chicago tip line.
December 2019 – Bribery charges
The most recent charges to be filed against Kelly stem from his secret marriage to the singer Aaliyah. Federal prosecutors have claimed that Kelly “bribed an Illinois official to get a fake ID for an unnamed female a day before he secretly married 15-year-old singer Aaliyah in 1994,” according to the Chicago Tribune. The couple’s marriage was later annulled at the behest of Aaliyah’s family.