A new Lifetime docuseries about R. Kelly is making headlines.
The six-part series, which will air beginning tonight, paints the singer as a “sex-crazed and abusive cult leader,” in the words of TMZ. It will feature people coming forward with new allegations about Kelly’s sexual, mental, and physical abuse of women.
Kelly’s lawyer, Brian Nix, is threatening to sue the network, saying he will file a federal lawsuit if they don’t pull the plug on the docuseries. Kelly, himself, has said that the allegations against him are the attempts of people he knows to gain their 15 minutes of fame.
One women who will speak out against Kelly in tonight’s documentary is Lisa Van Allen. What should you know about her? Read on.
1. She Says Kelly Filmed Their Sex Acts
In tonight’s docuseries, Lisa Van Allen will come forward with allegations against R. Kelly, saying that she was “instructed to call him ‘Daddy’ during sex.” She goes on to say that he filmed their sex acts without asking for her consent to film.
In a 2017 magazine feature, Van Allen says, “Robert would film our sex acts sometimes. He would never ask me if it was OK to be filmed, but he never hid the camera or anything like that.”
2. Van Allen Says He Restricted Her Access to Family Members
Along with filming their sex acts, Van Allen says Kelly prevented her from talking to her family members, and acted as a “go-between” for phone calls between her and her mother.
On tonight’s docuseries, Van Allen says, “The first time Robert [Kelly] had me do sexual acts with him and another female, he actually told me it was going to be his first time and he wanted to do it with me… He would say things like ‘If you love me, you won’t try to change me. If you love me, you’d accept me how I am. If you love me, you’ll do these things for me.’ Those would be his little pep talks he’d give me.”
Van Allen’s accusations mirror those of Kitti Jones, who quit her job to move with Kelly after they started a relationship. She says that after being together for some time, the abuse began. The Dallas Observer reports Jones as saying that Kelly would continuously slap her. She also said that she had to ask him if she wanted to use the restroom, and stand when he walked into a room.
3. She Is Not the First Person to Speak out Against the R&B Singer
A number of women have come forward with allegations of sexual abuse against R. Kelly.
One of those women is his ex-wife, Andrea Lee, who says that life married to Kelly was “horrible.” Drea tells People that her former husband pushed her so far she even contemplated suicide.
She says of hitting her low point, “At the time I didn’t know there was such a thing as spousal rape. He’d tried to lock me in the bathroom. I remember being ready to jump off the balcony of our hotel suite and commit suicide. Thank God I didn’t. After that I said, ‘I’m done.’ In 2004 I called my dad, packed my bags and left with our kids in the night.”
In May of this year, two more women spoke out for the first time against Kelly. Their stories were reported by Buzzfeed.
The first woman, Lizzette Martinez, said that her relationship with R. Kelly began when she was just 17-years-old. She says Kelly took her virginity and knew she was underage when she did so. The other woman, Michelle, is the mother of an alleged abuse victim. Michelle told Buzzfeed that her daughter was involved with Kelly when she was just 17.
4. The R. Kelly Docuseries Includes over 50 Interviews
Surviving R. Kelly includes over 50 exclusive interviews with appearances from John Legend, Sparkle, Wendy Williams, and civil rights activist Tarana Burke.
What does Van Allen want viewers to take away from the docuseries? When she appeared on The View, Van Allen explained, “Awareness. I wanted to raise awareness. I want to help someone else’s daughter, I always say that. I hope that the girls that are there will get strength from this, by, from watching this.”
She continued, “You know, it’s crazy, it’s really crazy because people don’t understand when you’re out of that situation, it still goes on with all of us. All of these girls are like still dealing with what they dealt with. No matter how long you were there. You take it with you.”
Asked if she has heard from Kelly since the trial, she said, “No… We do know some of the same people in the industry, but no…”
5. She Described R. Kelly as ‘Evil’
During her appearance on The View, Van Allen described R. Kelly as ‘evil’, saying, “Well, R. Kelly is great. I’d have to tell them about Robert. That’s who’s the person that’s pretty much… a pedophile. And he’s evil, you know. You gotta watch out for him.
How did Van Allen meet the R&B singer to begin with?
She was just 17 when she was hoping to secure a role in his 1997 music video “Home Alone”. Van Allen, according to The Chicago Defender, says she went into his trailer, where she and Kelly spoke briefly and they had “intercourse”. They then exchanged phone numbers, and she visited him in Chicago. Van Allen went on to appear in the “I Wish” video, and even had a role in his 1998 tour. According to the Chicago Defender, he would pick Van Allen out of the audience at the end of each show, and they would have “simulated sex.”
The series will air tonight at 9pm ET/PT, Friday at 9pm ET/PT, and Saturday at 9pm ET/PT on Lifetime.