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R. Kelly Girlfriend Joycelyn Savage Speaks Out, Saying She Is a ‘Victim’

UPDATED: On Nov. 26, three days after this article published, Variety received a notice from social-media platform Patreon that it has suspended the account of a person claiming to be Joycelyn Savage “and is pending removal for suspected fraud.” While multiple news outlets reported on the posts and an attorney for the Savage family told Variety on Monday that they believed, based on information included in the posts, that the author was Joycelyn, apparently Patreon has cause to be skeptical. Variety will have more on the situation as it develops. 

Joycelyn Savage, one of R. Kelly’s girlfriends, who has been living with him since she was 19, is opening up about her experience with the singer in a series of social-media posts, saying that she is “a victim” of his sexual and psychological abuse. Kelly has been incarcerated since July on multiple allegations of sexual abuse in three states.

Until recently, Savage was one of Kelly’s defenders, speaking out on his behalf in Gayle King’s interview with the singer earlier this year and appearing in the courtroom when he was arraigned in New York in August. While some uncertainty remains as to whether the person creating the posts is actually Joycelyn Savage. On Monday afternoon, Gerald Griggs, an attorney for her parents, told Variety that although he and the family are not in touch with the person who wrote the posts, the details in them have made the family confident that it is her, and said her parents urge her to get in touch and will welcome her back “with open arms.” Savage has lived with Kelly for the past several years and had told her parents in the past that she is “fine.”

The scenarios she describes are very similar to the ones depicted in the Lifetimes docuseries “Surviving R. Kelly,” in which multiple accusers speak of his alleged abuse. In her first post to a Patreon page created to share her testimonials, Savage, 24, recounted how the pair first met, what their early relationship was like, and how it allegedly devolved into controlling and invasive behavior.

She explained that after meeting the 52-year-old singer, who she refers to by his given name, Robert, at a concert in 2015, he flew her and a friend to California, promising her that he’d help her realize her dreams of becoming a model and singer.

“Robert would always look at me in a sexual way the first couple of times we met occasionally,” she wrote. She continued that after she gave him her CD, he said he could help her become like the late R&B artist Aaliyah, who Kelly illegally married in 1994 when she was 15.

“He would say it exactly like this ‘Baby girl you are going to be the next Aaliyah,'” she wrote. Savage explained that all her expenses were covered by Kelly, and that she recorded a few songs in his studio that have “never seen the day of light.”

“Robert told me soo many lies my 19 year old mind believed everyone of one them.”

She wrote that in 2015, she fell in love with Kelly, but after a few months, Kelly began telling her to always address him as “master” or “daddy.”

“It started getting worse by day by day, he would raise his voice at me if I didn’t call him by those two names,” the post reads. “If Robert called me I would have to reply with ‘Yes, daddy’ or ‘Please daddy’ he was so controlling.”

Savage also referred to a basement that she was not allowed to enter, and wrote that he employed multiple assistants at his home. She says they never spoke to her, but watched her, even as she showered.

“I can say I didn’t have any type of privacy at all now that I think of it. If I showered one of his assistant would have to be by the door while I shower. At the moment I kept thinking to myself why is all of this, does he think I will run away? Or go back home. That’s exactly what he thought he didn’t want me to leave at all.”

Telephone calls to her parents were not allowed to occur in private, and Savage says she was sometimes told what to say.

“’All this can stop today, you want a career?'” Kelly would allegedly ask her. “‘Or do you want to live a normal life[?]'”

Savage had teased the release of the post on Instagram after a two-year hiatus from social media, writing that “things I am going to reveal that was sweared not to see the day of light — by NDA. I am risking my life for many others.”

In response to the post, R. Kelly’s attorney, Steve Greenberg, said in a statement to Variety: “It is unfortunate that Jocelyn 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.”

Gerald Griggs, an attorney for Savage’s parents, did not immediately respond to requests for comment, but had retweeted an article about Joycelyn’s Patreon post on Saturday afternoon. He gave a statement to The New York Times on Sunday that reads: “The family is concerned about the allegations made by the social media account purported to be that of Joycelyn Savage. Numerous facts detailed by the account confirm the abuse and coercion that the family has alleged for two and a half years. We are attempting to make contact with Joy and the family is ready to welcome her back with love and open arms.”

Savage said in the past that she lived with Kelly willingly and that her estranged parents’ claims that he had brainwashed her are false. She and Azriel Clary, 21, Kelly’s other most recent girlfriend, recently sent a video to TMZ stating that they were still living together in Kelly’s Trump Tower condo in Chicago.

Kelly has denied all claims of physical or sexual abuse and domestic violence.

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