In a video statement to TMZ, Joycelyn Savage denied that she was the author of Instagram and Patreon accounts accusing R. Kelly of sexual and psychological abuse. In the video, Savage says she’s “truly tired” of the accusations against her “best friend, R. Kelly.”
Savage reads a statement from a phone, asking for support for the singer. “I am not going to be a part of the assassination of R. Kelly’s name, music career, and his character,” she said. “How will we ever be able to get a fair trial anywhere in the world with all these lies that being told on him?”
Kelly repeatedly denied all abuse allegations made against him.
Later in the video, Savage says: “Please do not believe what you see and hear on social media. That is not my Instagram. Someone is impersonating me. I just want everyone to know we still support him and we would never betray him.”
At 1:33, Savage starts to speak candidly to the camera. She says they have “a bond that is so special that no one ever can break.”
The Patreon account—a platform where people can directly support artists as they make things like, in this account’s case, essays—was disabled because the company couldn’t verify its owner. “After multiple unsuccessful attempts to verify the identity of the account holder, we closed the Patreon page allegedly associated with Joycelyn Savage due to potential impersonation,” a company spokesperson told Pitchfork. “All patrons who signed up for the membership page were refunded and the creator did not receive any funds.”
Savage called the accusations “nonsense.” The accusations made in the Patreon essays included how she met the singer, how the relationship escalated after only a few months together, emotional and physical abuse, multiple pregnancies, how leaving school adversely affecting her education, and having an abortion at Kelly’s home. Her story sounded similar to those told in the documentary series Surviving R. Kelly. Kelly repeatedly denied all abuse allegations made against him.
What’s strange about the entire Patreon affair is that at the time Kelly’s lawyer issued a statement that made it seem like the Kelly camp really believed Savage was writing the posts. I mean, Kelly’s attorney Steven Greenberg accused Savage of trying to profit off her relationship with the singer! Statement via Variety, emphasis mine:
“It is unfortunate that Joycelyn now seeks to make money by exploiting her long time, loving relationship with Robert. Obviously if she were to tell the truth no one would pay so she has, unfortunately, chosen to regurgitate the stories and lies told by others for her own personal profit. We know the real facts, and it was not until the money ran out that she decided anything was wrong. Hopefully people will see it for the obvious profiteering it is.”
This is not the same tone his legal team is now taking. Kelly lawyer Nicole Blank Becker told USA Today that these “fictitious stories were placed on a public platform” to shape the narrative about her client. “Just because someone says something, claims something and/or gets money for it, doesn’t mean it’s true,” Becker said.
Despite Savage’s claims that an imposter made the video, her family still isn’t buying it. The family released a statement through their attorney, Gerald A. Griggs, to USA Today: “We deeply desired to hear her story and in her own voice outside of the presence of Robert Sylvester Kelly or anyone associated with him. For nearly three years, Joycelyn Savage has not been able to speak outside of a controlled environment created by Mr. Kelly. Her video today was not any different. Although we can now verify that it wasn’t her account, the allegations still remain.”