R&B singer R Kelly has “unequivocally” denied a report which claims he is holding a group of young women in a “cult” atmosphere.
The star, best known for the hit I Believe I Can Fly, is the subject of a Buzzfeed News article that alleges he keeps six women at his homes in Atlanta and Chicago and “controls every aspect of their lives”.
But Kelly’s lawyer, Linda Mensch, strongly rejected the claims. “Mr Robert Kelly is both alarmed and disturbed at the recent revelations attributed to him,” she said.
“Mr. Kelly unequivocally denies such allegations and will work diligently and forcibly to pursue his accusers and clear his name.”
According to three former members of Kelly’s inner circle quoted by Buzzfeed, he dictates “what they eat, how they dress, when they bathe, when they sleep, and how they engage in sexual encounters that he records”.
The article alleges the singer confiscates the women’s phones so they cannot contact friends and family and enforces strict rules for his so-called “babies”.
Parents of one woman said to be living with the 50-year-old claim their daughter is being held against her will.
All the women mentioned in the article are over 18 and the singer has not been charged with any crime.
Kelly was acquitted in 2008 of 14 child pornography charges after a trial that took six years to get to court.
Buzzfeed News said it stands fully behind its report and that it was based on nine months of investigations.