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Jury decides R. Kelly's actions won't fly with them


     The whole world felt like it stopped after the 2018 release of Surviving R. Kelly. Viewers watched as beloved R&B superstar, Robert Kelly - better known as R. Kelly - was accused of sex trafficking, pedophilia and rape. Many young female fans, ranging from 14 to 20 years old, came forward about their experiences with the singer. One of his more notable victims was another R&B singer, Aaliyah who passed away in a plane crash at 22 years old in 2001. 

     Many have been wondering when he would finally pay the price for all the pain he caused, but on Sept. 27, 2021, Kelly was found guilty in New York and charged with 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse.         However, this wasn’t the first time he had been taken to court. Upon the discovery of a child sex tape, Kelly was arrested in Chicago, IL, in 2002. Charges against him were dropped in 2008 which, in my opinion, was due to a non-diverse and biased jury. 

     Creators of the documentary interviewed some of the jury who said they felt the girls

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Graphic by Liv Carpenter

were trying to get fame and money. I think that this way of thinking is ridiculous, especially since there was a literal film created with a minor, and now that girl is going to suffer with all that trauma for the rest of her life. 

     It wasn’t long after this trial when his search for young women would start again. By the end of the documentary, we saw that he was still holding three other girls. Luckily, all three of them were let go and were “relieved” after this trial’s verdict. They, along with other victims, claimed to have been mentally tormented by Kelly.

     It was documented that he would not allow them to eat, use the bathroom without permission, wear the clothing they wanted and they had to refer to him as “daddy.” Kelly’s former spouse and dancer, Andrea Kelly claimed that she was not exempt from this torture. She would often be locked in the downstairs basement of their home, even while pregnant with their children. 

    There were many similar accusations that arose from this case, all of which are vile and disgusting. Many protests were sparked, but one of the more notable was #MuteRKelly. The point of this protest was meant to grow awareness for the rise in violence against young women of color and to have it better recognized in court. This group has been active since 2002, after his initial arrest, and has been known to feud with any still-supporting fans of the singer. 

    The fact that there is anyone who still supports him is unbelievable to me. It unfortunately took many victims coming forward with proof for something to be done about the situation. It honestly upsets me that in order for justice to even be considered, many others have to be affected. This gives the assailant more of an opportunity to harm others. However, this case has proven that there is still some hope when it comes to how our justice system treats sex crimes.

    It’s been talked about multiple times the fact that people of power, more specifically, celebrities have been able to get away with literal crimes. Just recently, Two and a Half Men star Charlie Sheen has been granted permission to no longer pay child support to his ex-wife, Denise Richards after she claimed he abandoned a trust he created for his children.  Now, this is nowhere as severe as Kelly’s case, but this still shows how much popularity can get you out of trouble, until now. 

     This case sets an example for all celebrities. Many musicians, actors and authors have been called out for their violent mishaps within the last few years. It’s good to see that we are finally starting to recognize these things, even if some have yet to be proven true or false. Hopefully, people will see this case and learn what the consequences to violence are, and maybe, it will teach them that just because they’re famous, doesn’t mean they can get away with it. 

    As for everyone else, celebrities getting treated similar to a normal everyday person can show them that they are not as powerful as they seem to think. They may even start to view their platform like an occupation instead of a place of power. At the end of the day, everyone's the same, and people shouldn’t be treated differently, especially legally, just solely because they have a positive media presence. 

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