Posts Claiming R. Kelly Abuse Are Taken Down


Saying it could not verify the writer’s identity, a website on Tuesday deleted posts in which a person claiming to be a longtime girlfriend of the singer R. Kelly accused him of years of emotional and physical abuse.

The account holder on the website Patreon claiming to be Joycelyn Savage posted lurid allegations against Mr. Kelly over the weekend, claims that were reminiscent of accusations that have been made against him by other women, in news reports and in the Lifetime documentary series, “Surviving R. Kelly.”

Multiple news outlets, including The New York Times, reported on the posts this past weekend. But on Tuesday, after several online commenters raised questions about the authenticity of the posts, Patreon took them down.

“After multiple unsuccessful attempts to verify the identity of the account holder,” Patreon said in a statement, “we closed the Patreon page allegedly associated with Joycelyn Savage due to potential impersonation.”

Patreon pays writers based on how many paid monthly subscriptions they attract. The person claiming to be Ms. Savage had drawn about 1,800 followers, each of whom paid at least $3 to view the three posts published on Saturday and Sunday. Patreon said all the subscription payments would be refunded and the creator of the posts would not receive any money. It sent an email to subscribers on Tuesday saying the account had been suspended because of “suspected fraud.”

The person claiming to be Ms. Savage did not respond to several messages from The Times seeking clarification on her identity. Nor did anyone claiming to be Ms. Savage publicly accuse the author of having impersonated her.

Mr. Kelly, 52, is in jail facing numerous state and federal charges including child pornography, sexual assault and obstruction of justice. He is also accused of bribing the family of a teenage girl so she would not testify against him in a child pornography trial, in which he was acquitted of all charges in 2008. His lawyer, Steve Greenberg, did not respond to a request for comment on Tuesday.

The Patreon posts were striking not simply because of the abuse they described, but because the real Ms. Savage has been a staunch backer of Mr. Kelly, showing up to support him in court and defending him on national television. An Instagram page, also under Ms. Savage’s name, linked to the posts. Before the additions this past weekend, the Instagram page contained only two selfies of Ms. Savage, both from July 2017. Instagram said on Tuesday that it was reviewing the page in light of Patreon’s actions.

In the posts, the writer claiming to be Ms. Savage accused Mr. Kelly of controlling when she ate, bathed and used the bathroom; of choking her once when she didn’t address him as “Daddy” or “Master”; and impregnating her and forcing her to get an abortion.

Gerald Griggs, a lawyer representing Ms. Savage’s family, said they also tried to make contact with her through Patreon and the Instagram account, but were unsuccessful. The family has said Ms. Savage was being held by Mr. Kelly in a kind of emotional and sexual captivity, and that he had cut them off from contact with her.

Mr. Griggs said Ms. Savage’s parents still believe she is not in control of her life, even though Mr. Kelly has been in jail for months.

“With the potential dangers facing Joycelyn and her safety we are asking law enforcement to get involved in determining where Joycelyn is and who was behind the account that details potential crimes,” he said.

Ms. Savage, who lived with Mr. Kelly for several years, went on “CBS This Morning” in March along with Azriel Clary, another live-in girlfriend, saying they were staying with the singer voluntarily. Both have showed up at several court appearances in support of Mr. Kelly.


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