R. Kelly was tearful and angry in his first interview since pleading not guilty to sexual abuse charges. In a nearly 80-minute CBS This Morning interview that aired Wednesday, the singer told Gayle King that allegations he has been abusing women and girls for decades are untrue and "stupid," the Guardian reports. Asked if he'd ever held anybody against their will, he said: "How stupid would it be for R. Kelly, with all I've been through in my way, way past, to hold somebody—let alone four, five, six, 50 you said—how stupid would I be to do that?" Kelly said. "Use your common sense." Kelly has been charged with 10 counts of sexual abuse against four victims, three of whom were underage at the time of the alleged attacks. More standout quotes:
- Asked if he'd ever been with underage girls, Kelly said: "I had two cases back then that I said in the beginning of the interview that I would not talk about because of my ongoing case now."
- King asked him which "lies" bother him most. He offered up a long list: "Oh my God. Um—all of them, got little girls trapped in the basement ... helicopters over my house trying to rescue someone that doesn't need rescuing because they're not in my house. Handcuffing people, starving people. I have a harem, what you call it—a cult. I don't even really know what a cult is. But I know I don't have one."
- He began to sob after again urging viewers to use their "common sense" instead of believing he decided "to be a monster and hold girls against their will, chain them up in my basement, and don't let them eat," TMZ reports. "Quit playing. I didn't do this stuff!" he told King, his voice rising to a scream as he stands up (see a bold image here). "This is not me! I'm fighting for my f---ing life!" The interview was paused so Kelly could calm himself.
- He was asked about two women he lives with: Joycelyn Savage, 23, and Azriel Clary, 21. He's been accused of holding them hostage, and he pushed back on that, per CBS News. "I love 'em and it's almost—it's like they're my girlfriends," he said. "What kind of love is it that keeps these young women away from their families?" King later asked. "What kind of father, what kind of mother would sell their daughter to a man? How come it was OK for me to see them until they wasn't getting no money from me?" he replied. "So you're saying the parents handed their daughters, Azriel and Jocelyn, to you?" King asked. His reply: "Absolutely."
- King asked if he'd ever had sex with anyone 16 or younger. "No. No," he replied. "Never?" she pushed. He gave an emphatic, "No!" King persisted: "I have to tell you, it's so hard to believe that based on all that we've read, and what the women have said about you and what the women have said about you." "What women said about me. So nobody's allowed to be mad at me and be scorned and lie on me?" Kelly said. "So they're lying on you? That's your explanation? They're lying on you?" she asked. "Absolutely. Absolutely. Absolutely," Kelly said. "I have been assassinated. I have been buried alive. But I'm alive."
- CBS reports that King also sat down with two young women who live with Kelly for an interview that will air Friday.
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