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Celebs like Kathy Griffin are calling out TMZ for being nice to R. Kelly

RKellyTV/YouTube dreamhampton/Twitter (Fair Use) Kris Seavers

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Amid months of coverage surrounding R. Kelly, a handful of exclusive videos published to TMZ have seemingly countered accusations against him of grooming, abuse, and other predatory behavior. Now, high-profile celebrities and other Twitter users are wondering aloud about TMZ’s coverage of Kelly and his alleged victims.

Fueling the speculation, TMZ posted a video of three young women who appeared in the explosive docuseries Surviving R. Kelly at one of his concerts. The headline of the post is “R. KELLY ALLEGED SEX SLAVES AT 2016 CONCERT … Free Will or Stockholm Syndrome??” This post, among others, has led people to question the relationship between TMZ and Kelly.

“They are just shills for R. Kelly and that’s stick,” comedian Kathy Griffin tweeted this week.

The women’s parents are accusing Kelly of brainwashing the girls and keeping them in a “sex-like cult.” One of them, Dominique Gardner, was reunited with her mother after escaping the accused predator. Viewers learned from the docuseries that she later returned to Kelly after just three days of being away but eventually went back to live with her mother.

In May, a video of Joycelyn Savage along with Gardner was posted under the headline, “R. Kelly Alleged Sex Slave Joycelyn Savage Vacations without R. Kelly.”  

In another TMZ video posted in May, Savage and Kelly can be seen shopping in a mall, which was headlined, “R. Kelly Seen Shopping with ‘Brainwashed Sex Slave’ Joycelyn Savage.”

In what was perhaps the most impactful “exclusive” video, obtained by TMZ in July 2017, Savage can be seen responding to claims made in a BuzzFeed News article, which alleges that Kelly is holding women hostage against their will.

One of the Twitter users who believes Kelly is benefitting from TMZ’s coverage is the producer of the docuseries, Dream Hampton.

“You produced clips showing her shopping as evidence she was ‘free,'” Hampton tweeted this week. “Who do you work for?”

Even if TMZ is advocating for Kelly, it looks like his luck may be running out. As Complex reported this week, Kelly is being investigated for possible criminal charges in Georgia.

We’ve reached out to TMZ.

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Eilish O'Sullivan

Eilish O'Sullivan

Eilish O'Sullivan is an editorial intern for the Daily Dot studying journalism and government at the University of Texas at Austin. Her work has appeared in the Austin Chronicle and the Daily Texan.