In public, R Kelly has remained defiant since the airing of Lifetime’s Surviving R Kelly — even as one police investigation has been launched in Georgia, and another could soon follow in Illinois. Last week, the controversial singer celebrated his birthday party in Chicago and, at one point, he seemingly mocked the situation. After singing the opening lines to “Bump N’ Grind,” Kelly told the gathered audience, “Y’all motherfuckers don’t know it’s my motherfuckin’ birthday and I don’t give a fuck what’s going on tonight.”
Behind the scenes, however, it appears to be a different story. According to TMZ, the 52-year-old Kelly has been “riddled” with panic attacks in recent weeks. One of his attacks was so severe that it reportedly required treatment at a hospital.
“We’re told the episodes are triggered by the overwhelming backlash Kelly’s getting from celebs and the general public. He’s shocked how the tables have turned … with most people now believing his accusers.
We’re told Kelly’s aware the pendulum isn’t swinging his way right now in the court of public opinion.
As for his birthday celebration Wednesday night … we’re told Kelly’s looking for reasons to get out of his house. Quite frankly, we’re told he still believes he’s done nothing wrong and doesn’t want to seem like he’s hiding.”
Adding to Kelly’s worries is a civil suit from one of his alleged victims, Faith Rodgers. At a press conference in New York on Monday (via The Hill), Rogers and her attorney, Gloria Allred, accused Kelly of sexual battery and failing to disclose a sexually transmitted disease. Allred also said that in response to the lawsuit, Kelly has threatened to divulge “details of [Rodgers’] sex life” and “private photos.”
Allred also revealed that the New York Police Department has reached out to Rodgers as part of its own investigation into potential victims of Kelly.
Meanwhile, Kelly’s record label, RCA Records/Sony Music, have bowed to pressure and will stop releasing the singer’s music. While he remains under contract, the label “will not produce any of the singer’s new music, it will not put money behind any of his projects, and it will not release any additional music until the criminal investigations in Georgia and other fallout resolve one way or the other,” according to TMZ.
TMZ adds that RCA/Sony has yet to formally drop Kelly over concerns of a retaliatory lawsuit, but will instead wait for the process to play out.
Even if Kelly was to continue to release music, he’ll have a hard time finding people to work with. Past collaborators Lady Gaga, Chance the Rapper, and Phoenix have all rebuked the singer, and just today, Celine Dion pulled her Kelly collaboration “I’m Your Angel” from streaming services.