However, roughly 20 foreign diplomats from 'Surviving R. Kelly' night three: Everything we learned from the docu-series' finale
Lifetime's "Surviving R. Kelly" docu-series, featuring six hours of footage broadcast over three nights, concludes Saturday night with two final segments of shocking storytelling, "All The Missing Girls" and "Black Girls Matter."
While Thursday and Friday night's segments focused on claims from the '90s and '00s, the documentary's final night digs into more recent allegations: that he coerces women to live with him, separates them from their families and commits shocking acts of physical and sexual abuse against them.
USA TODAY contacted Kelly's representatives for comment.
USA TODAY asked Lifetime to respond criticism of the documentary. Kannie Yu LaPack, SVP, Publicity and Public Affairs for the network, told USA TODAY she would not respond to specific criticisms, but she said in an email that everything in the documentary had been “legally vetted and corroborated.”
Later, she sent an official statement via email: "'Surviving R. Kelly' is a six-part documentary series exploring R. Kelly’s personal and professional history, showcasing the survivors who are emerging from the shadows to unite their voices and share their allegations of abuse. The documentary also tells the stories of families who are currently still trying to get their girls home."
R. Kelly allegedly dressed one of his female victims as a boy
A key voice in the final two hours of "Surviving R. Kelly" is an anonymous former employee of Kelly's, whose voice is disguised and face is not revealed, who says they worked with Kelly until recently. The person described one of the women that Kelly allegedly coerced into living with him, Dominique Gardner, and how Kelly dressed her up to look like a boy, cutting her hair and dressing her in men's clothing.
“There was a staff member who tried to help Dominique," the anonymous former employee said. "It was a situation where Dominique expressed how she was being mistreated. To Robert, Dominique is the rebellious one, she stays in trouble. She’s a little tomboyish, and Robert plays on that, so he has molded her into the boy he wants her to be. So he’s had her shave all her hair off, he has her carry herself like a boy. He’s even had her dress in boy clothes and paint a beard and a mustache on, to look like a boy. He treats her like his boy toy.”
'Surviving R. Kelly': All the shocking claims from night one of the docu-series
The "Surviving R. Kelly" team staged a rescue of one of Kelly's alleged victims
In July 2017, Buzzfeed News published a bombshell story from Chicago reporter Jim DeRogatis, who originally helped break the news of Kelly's misconduct in the '90s, claiming that Kelly keeps women secluded from their families in his Atlanta and Chicago properties as part of a "cult."
Joycelyn Savage was a 21-year-old woman named in report as one of the women who Kelly was allegedly isolating and holding against their will. Savage, whose parents had publicly accused Kelly of kidnapping their daughter, told TMZ in a video that she was living with Kelly on her own free will.
In possibly the most remarkable moment of the six-hour docuseries, Michelle Kramer, Dominique Gardner’s mother, traveled with the “Surviving R. Kelly” crew to Beverly Hills in May 2018 to attempt to locate her daughter after seeing Gardner in another TMZ video with Savage.
“(Kelly) always have her staying at the same hotels, so that’s where I want to go,” Kramer said, arriving at a hotel and successfully finding her daughter's room, accompanied by a camera crew and a hotel manager.
“Nikka, I need you to come home,” Kramer is shown saying repeatedly to Gardner, using her daughter's nickname. “Nikka, don’t do this. If I came this far, Nikka, don’t you dare.”
Gardner told Kramer to come back at 6 p.m., and when Kramer returned, the hotel manager told her that Gardner called 911, telling police that Kramer was not her actual mother. The hotel manager told Kramer that a police report was filed, and the authorities would be called if she did not leave.
Undeterred, Kramer snuck back into a stall in the hotel bathroom, where Gardner met her with her bag, and they escaped together into a car.
“That’s the hardest decision I ever had to make,” Gardner said, crying.
The documentary later reveals that Gardner returned to Kelly three days after her escape, but later left again, and is currently back with her family.
As of 2011, Kelly was still in contact with the girl allegedly in the sex tape
Kitti Jones, a former radio DJ who started dating Kelly when she was 33, told the documentary that she quit her job and moved to Chicago to spend more time with the singer, and considered him her boyfriend.
“A friend of mine had said, ‘Have you ever watched the sex tape?’ And I was furious with her and felt disrespected because at this point, this is my boyfriend … But my curiosity kind of got the best of me, and I googled it," she said. "And when I saw the images, the images were the same girl that he had introduced me to a couple weeks before. I knew immediately it was the same woman. I didn’t know how to feel. I guess I felt like I was tricked into something.”
Reeling from the realization that she had met the woman who she thought she had seen in the sex tape, Jones told Kelly. She claims that led to him physically abusing her for the first time.
“I called him and I was very upset, he could hear me crying," she said. "He just began saying things to me that I had never heard before, like, “(Expletive), don’t ever accuse me of stuff like that, who are you listening to … He beat me in the car on the way back. That was the first time he was ever physical with me.”
Jones also shared a disturbing detail about Kelly's favorite television show, which she claims he enjoyed watching even while banning her from watching TV.
“I was not allowed to watch TV by Rob back then," she said. "'Dance Moms' was a show that he would look at -- ironically, with little girls dancing and such. But I never (was allowed to see) any reality shows or anything negative or would have anything pertaining to him."
Kelly allegedly forced the women he was involved with to write false statements as 'insurance'
Jones described being excited when Kelly took her on tour with him in 2012 and incorporated her into his act, in which he handcuffed her in to cage and pantomimed oral sex on her, with one part of the act depicting him handing her a contract to sign.
But the documentary claims that onstage contract-signing was a pantomime of a nefarious act to which Kelly subjected the women who stayed with him.
“I just remember him saying (onstage), ‘This is what I’m going to have you do when we get home, make up a contract so I can protect myself,” Jones said.
According to the anonymous employee, "Kelly does make the girls write statements with false accusations against themselves, either saying that they stole something from him or their parents stole something from him, or even that his parents tried to bribe him. I would call the statements some kind of insurance."
"And in addition to the statements, the fact he videos everything sexual they do with him, I see the videos as being something he can hold against them," they added.
'Surviving R. Kelly' producer: Lady Gaga, other celebs turned down our interview requests
Kelly's security dragged one of his underage victims' sisters away from her -- and threatened to kill her sister and family
Azriel Clary, who was 17 when she met Kelly -- underage by the standards of her Florida home state -- convinced her parents to let her travel with Kelly and pursue a music career as his mentee in 2015, with her sister A’Iceis traveling to Chicago to watch over Azriel.
“When I woke up one morning, she wasn’t there," A’Iceis recounted. "So I was like, ‘Okay, he must have came and got her.’ I walked to the studio, and R. Kelly’s nephew was there, and told me they left … So I started yelling and cussing, saying, ‘Someone needs to bring my sister out here.’ So my sister came out, and (I said), ‘We’re leaving.’ I started dragging my sister out of the studio. And then R. Kelly is pulling my sister, and I’m pulling her too, and I tell R. Kelly, ‘I’m going to call the police and tell them you kidnapped my sister.”
When A’Iceis called the police, they were unable to verify that Azriel was being held against her will.
“R. Kelly told his security to make me disappear,” A’Iceis continued. “They pinned me down and carried me out, and pulled in back of an alley at a McDonalds. I was shoved out, I didn’t know where I was, and they (said), ‘If you say anything, your sister won’t make it out alive, or your family.”
After storming out of an interview, R. Kelly couldn’t read the online criticism of himself, so his staff lied to him
Kelly conducted a disastrous interview with Huffington Post Live in 2015, in which he grew angry at the host for asking about his abuse allegations and eventually walked off the set.
His former employee who was interviewed anonymously described how the singer wanted to know what the internet was saying about the incident, but couldn’t read well enough to understand.
“He was very upset about that interview … that was a time that he actually wanted to know what was being said online about the interview," the employee said. "R. Kelly can read, but he has difficulties reading certain words, and no one would tell him the truth. I was one of the people who lied to him about what was being said about him."
R. Kelly allegedly forced the women living with him to go to the bathroom in buckets
Months after A’Iceis Clary was dragged away from R. Kelly’s studio, she finally told the full story of what happened to her parents Alice and Angelo, who recounted the horrors that A’Iceis saw in the studio’s various rooms.
“This came out months later, and A’Iceis was very upset, crying and distraught, talking about the incident at the studio. She was going through the different rooms, looking for Azriel,” Alice said.
“She knocked on every one of the doors, and she said there were girls in the other rooms, but they couldn’t talk,” Angelo added.
“And she noticed buckets in the corner of every room,” Alice said. “And she said that it looked like they were using the buckets to use the bathroom.”
“Why would you go from being able to use your own bathroom to going in a room where you have to pee in a corner?” A’Iceis said.
Contacts in the Chicago Police Department allegedly tipped off R. Kelly to wellness checks occurring at his properties
Angelo and Alice Clary described teaming up with the Savage family to urge police to conduct family welfare checks at Kelly’s homes.
“I was told about the wellness checks being done at the house in Atlanta as well as the studio in Chicago," the anonymous employee said. "R. Kelly knew about the wellness check in Chicago before it happened because he has friends in the police department in Chicago, who warned him.”
Following the wellness checks, police told the Clary and Savage families that they had contacted both their daughters, both of whom said that they were not in danger.
As of the episode's air date, the documentary said neither Joycelyn Savage nor Azriel Clary have returned to their families.