In a series of posts shared on the subscription platform Patreon, a woman claiming to be R. Kelly’s girlfriend Joycelyn Savage spoke out against the rapper, and claimed she is a victim of psychological and sexual abuse. Savage, a longtime defender of Kelly, had been living with the rapper since she was 19, spoke out on his behalf in his CBS This Morning interview with Gayle King in March, and was still with the rapper at the time of his arrest. Kelly has been in prison since July for federal charges that include kidnapping, forced labor, and sexual exploitation of a child, per CNN. The rapper has also been charged with multiple counts of aggravated sexual assault and aggravated criminal sexual abuse in Illinois and New York. Kelly has denied all allegations against him.
In a statement released to TMZ on Dec. 4, Savage claimed that the Patreon account isn't hers. "Please do not believe what you see and hear on social media," she said in a video message, per People. "That is not my Instagram. Someone is impersonating me."
On Instagram on Nov. 23, an account claiming to be Savage addressed her decision to share her story via Patreon despite an alleged NDA. "I have Partnered up with @Patreon where I will post daily chapters of my story," the person wrote. "Things I am going to reveal that was sweared not to see the day of light — by NDA. I am risking my life for many others."
In their first post, accessible only by a paid Patreon membership, and published on Nov. 23, the person believed at the time to be Savage recounted the first time she met Kelly — whom she refers to by his birth name Robert — and how their relationship ultimately evolved into alleged manipulative and harmful behavior, as per Variety. The two met at a concert in 2015, where Savage claims that Kelly promised to further her career as a singer and mold it after the late R&B artist Aaliyah's, whom Kelly reportedly illegally wed in 1994 when she was 15.
In a statement issued to Variety, Kelly's attorney Steve Greenberg denied the claims detailed in the Patreon. It read, "It is unfortunate that Joycelyn now seeks to make money by exploiting her long time, loving relationship with Robert. Obviously if she were to tell the truth no one would pay so she has, unfortunately, chosen to regurgitate the stories and lies told by others for her own personal profit. We know the real facts, and it was not until the money ran out that she decided anything was wrong. Hopefully people will see it for the obvious profiteering it is.”
The claims detailed in the Patreon mirror the allegations made by alleged victims of the singer in Lifetime’s Surviving R. Kelly documentary. Savage stood by Kelly throughout the documentary, and has remained a supporter even as he has been arrested on federal charges of kidnapping and child pornography. Her parents, Timothy and Jonjelyn Savage, have long claimed that Kelly “brainwashed” their daughter to avoid contact with them and remain in his alleged sex cult. On the heels of Kelly’s explosive CBS interview in March, Savage reportedly reached out to her estranged parents and “appeared to recite a prepared message,” as per Rolling Stone: “I have told you guys a million, million times that I am OK where I am and I’m happy, so I just want to let you know that.” In her CBS interview, Savage defended her relationship with Kelly and told King her parents are "trying to get money" from and "scam" Kelly.
Speaking in December to TMZ, Savage said she still stood by Kelly. "I would never in a million years hurt him like this. I would never do this," she said. "It's just really really sad that somebody would pretend to be me and put it out in the world and say that I'm a victim, that I'm brainwashed, I'm a sex slave — it doesn't get worse than that."
In response to Savage's denial, an attorney for her parents, Gerald Griggs, released a statement. Though he acknowledged that the account did not appear to belong to Savage, Griggs said in part, "The allegations still remain."
Editor's Note: This post has been updated to include Savage's claims that she did not write the Patreon post.