R. Kelly, determined to beat out a hefty group of competitors for this year’s title of Worst Man, claimed in a viral video that it’s “too late” for critics to ruin his career, despite the slew of women who’ve come forward of late to accuse the singer of sexual abuse.
“I got a million motherfuckers hating me, or 40 billion motherfuckers loving me, you know what I’m saying?” Kelly can be heard saying in the video, which was recently uploaded to Facebook Live and reported on by Complex. “I am handcuffed, like a lot of you motherfuckers, I’m handcuffed by my destiny. It’s too late, they shoulda did this shit thirty years ago. It’s too late. The music has been injected into the world. OK? I hired my motherfucking self.”
Then, he gave a toast. “It’s motherfuckers like you, is why I still continue to do what I do, because I have a basketball mentality,” he said. “You understand? As long as I got the ball, the world is on defense.”
Watch if you dare:
I assume Kelly is specifically referring to the #MuteRKelly campaign, a recent effort on the part of sexual harassment combat group Time’s Up to get RCA Records and Ticketmaster to drop him, and for streaming services to stop playing his music. That campaign managed to get Spotify to drop Kelly from their branded playlists, with mixed results, and indeed, as Kelly points out in the above video, his fans are still streaming his music in hordes.
But just because Kelly is still relatively successful, doesn’t mean his accusers should back down, or his critics stop trying to hold him accountable. Kelly faces decades worth of accusations that he sexually assaulted and abused women, including that he held women as young as 17 “hostage” in his home as part of an alleged sex cult, and gave them sexually transmitted diseases. Just this week, a 20-year-old woman named Faith Rodgers filed a suit against Kelly alleging he plied her with alcohol, sexually assaulted her, and infected her with herpes when she was only a teenager. This is now a familiar story.
So, though none of this may have immediate or dire consequences for Kelly (though hopefully it does), at the very least it tarnishes his legacy. And if there’s nothing more concrete that we can do to hold allegedly bad men accountable for their behavior, continuing to try will put a big, scary asterisk by their names long after they are gone, no matter how many people listen to “Ignition” just to be dicks.