R. Kelly has broken his silence. In a statement issued on Friday, the R&B singer says he’s “heartbroken” over allegations that he has sexually abused women, has sex with underage girls, and holds women prisoner in a cult. Following a statement from Time’s Up calling on corporations to cut ties with R. Kelly, and a new BuzzFeed News report outlining further abuse allegations, Kelly says the media is trying to tarnish his image. Calling himself “a God-fearing man, a son, a brother, and most importantly a father,” Kelly says the media “has dissected and manipulated these false allegations,” according to The Hollywood Reporter. The media, he says, has published these allegations in an “attempt to distort my character and to destroy my legacy that I have worked so hard to build.” In a previous statement, Kelly’s attorney compared the allegations that the singer has repeatedly abused women and underage girls to racist lynchings.
R. Kelly. Photo: Prince Williams/WireImage