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R. Kelly cried and threw a tantrum during an interview with CBS This Morning’s Gayle King, which aired Wednesday morning.
Several clips from the interview were shared late Tuesday and Twitter exploded with memes and reactions before it even aired. According to the clips, Kelly got emotional several times and quite dramatically denied numerous accusations against him of sexually abusing minors.
Kelly repeatedly denied the allegations while King calmly confronted him with pressing questions about the charges leveled against him.
King’s composure during Kelly’s outbursts is the mood everyone is digging, too:
Y’all. @GayleKing interviewed #RKelly for his first TV interview since last charges against him.— Brigida Mack (@BrigidaMack) March 6, 2019
Airs tomorrow morning on @CBSThisMorning starting at 7am.
Also, the level of poise she has in these screen grabs. The unbothered-ness emanating from her. #goals 🙌🏾 pic.twitter.com/NLP42eRM99
I can only strive to be this unbothered while interviewing an abuser! This is definitely interview goals for me!— Ashley Rae Bell Hooks (@AshleyRaeBrand) March 6, 2019
.#interviewgoals #journalism #journalist #gayleking #rkelly #culture #drama #skills #professionalism #letstalkraestyle #ashleyrae #unbothered pic.twitter.com/AEZq0yZIBA
Meanwhile, @CBSEveningNews @GayleKing just sitting unbothered and letting him have all the rope to hang himself with. #KarenRebels #MuteRKelly #RKelly #BelieveSurvivors #LockHimUp https://t.co/L9NUlF1R4w— Shawn DeRay (@DeRay_Shawn) March 6, 2019
The facial similarities with Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s hearing from September were too close for many to miss, and shared in split-screen posts. “How many women have seen men like this?” user Tess Deco tweeted.
This performance wins the award for Best Meltdown While Being Asked Reasonable Questions in an Interview narrowly beating Kavanaugh in a run off. #rkellyinterview— Lauren Clarke-Mason (@msclarkemason) March 6, 2019
Saw clips of R. Kelly interview w/ Gayle & thought, hmmmmm - where have I seen a performance like that before? pic.twitter.com/jNLB6h7Svz— Baritone Liberavoice (@redstmiscreant) March 6, 2019
How many women have seen men act like this? R. Kelly is the same American male who feels so entitled that social morals and laws don't apply to them. Trump's 'grab her by the p*ssy' or Kavanaugh's rape didn't matter to male America. Women will change this. pic.twitter.com/5WOgGMKhCi— Tess Deco (@TessDeco) March 6, 2019
The memes began circulating on Twitter after King posted the photos on her Instagram with an apt teaser for her followers:
In numerous clips shared by CBS This Morning’s Twitter, Kelly is seen being defensive and emotional about the allegations brought against him.
In one clip, he is heard blaming a myriad of factors such as “fame” his victims would potentially get from sharing their story, and the “power of social media,” denying claims that at least seven women, whose names King read out to him, made similar claims that he restricted their food timings, controlled them and their mobility, and was abusive.
“You can start a rumor on a guy like me, or a celebrity just like that,” he says in the video.
When she asks him if he’s done “anything” he regrets with women, he says yes, and that he apologized to the women at the time of it.
In another video, he’s seen getting emotional and screaming into the camera, “Stop it! Y’all quit playing! Quit playing! I didn’t do this stuff. This is not me. I’m fighting for my fucking life!”
His apparently narcissistic trait of victimizing himself in the face of allegations wasn’t lost on people, either:
I BELIEVE ALL OF THE WOMEN!! #RKelly is exhibiting Typical narcissistic sociopathic behavior!!!!! Only cry when they realize they’ve been CAUGHT AND CORNERED!!!! #MuteRKelly #Ibelieveher #BlackGirlsMatter #SurvivingRKelly #StrongWomen #BelieveThem— Kat ☾ (@JustCallMeKat__) March 6, 2019
According to CBS, this is the singer’s first interview since the Lifetime documentary Surviving R. Kelly was released in January, sparking cancellations and boycotts of his music. Almost two months after the release of the six-part docuseries, he was finally charged with 10 counts of aggravated sex abuse, and eventually bailed out with the help of a friend. His friends and network have been his biggest enablers, but thanks to the calm and questions of people like King, that might be about to change.
Samira Sadeque is a New York-based journalist reporting on immigration, sexual violence, and mental health, and will sometimes write about memes and dinosaurs too. Her work also appears in Reuters, NPR, and NBC among other publications. She graduated from Columbia Journalism School, and her work has been nominated for SAJA awards. Follow: @Samideque