Ben Zand says "very serious questions need to be answered"
The maker of a new BBC documentary detailing new sexual misconduct allegations facing R Kelly has said that he would like to interview the controversial R&B star and that “very serious questions need to be answered”.
New BBC Three documentary, titled R Kelly: Sex, Girls & Videotapes, exposes new accusations facing the controversial R&B performer, including claims that he groomed a 14 year-old girl to be his sex “pet”.
Kelly’s representatives have not yet responded to the accusations, but the star has denied all allegations of sexual misconduct in the past.
Asked by NME if he wants Kelly to watch the documentary, Ben Zand said: “Yeah. I hope he addresses the allegations. I can’t say for sure whether he’s guilty or not guilty but what I can say is that he needs to answer the questions.”
“We gave him an opportunity to be in the film, and at first it seemed like he might be in the film, and then they just went completely cold,” Zand added.
“I believe everybody has the right to voice their opinion of a situation. I hope he does watch it and I hope he does an interview. I’ll happily interview him.”
Zand also spoke about what he describes as Kelly’s “tactic of silence”.
“It’s not like he came out and apologised for anything – he hasn’t really addressed it or spoken out about it, he didn’t speak to us for the film, so he’s chosen a tactic of silence and it seems to be working.”
“What happens when the allegations come out – they reasonably quickly die because he doesn’t address it, and that’s why I think it’s important to make a film like this, because we’re re-evaluating the allegations, we’re painting the full picture, allowing people to make up their own minds.”
“I really do think that the time has come where R Kelly needs to address it because they are very serious allegations and very serious questions need to be answered.”
The BBC doc features claims from R Kelly’s former girlfriend Kitti Jones. Jones, 34, started dating Kelly in 2011. She alleges that over the course of their two-year relationship, she was forced to have sex with Kelly and others at least 10 times in what she describes as a “sex dungeon”.
“I was introduced to one of the girls, that he told me he ‘trained’ since she was 14, those were his words,” Jones says in the documentary. “I saw that she was dressed like me, that she was saying the things I’d say and her mannerisms were like mine. That’s when it clicked in my head that he had been grooming me to become one of his pets. He calls them his pets.”
Following the allegations, Bleachers’ Jack Antonoff has said that he “hopes” R Kelly gets dropped by their label and that he’s asked RCA Records to part ways with Kelly “a number of times”.