- Trump kicks chief of staff out of Oval Office for coughing during interview 5 Months Ago
- Netflix announces Samurai version of ‘Game of Thrones’ 5 Months Ago
- The 8-Bit Guy: Why retro tech and restoration isn’t just for ‘old white guys’ Today 7:00 AM
- How to watch the 2019 MTV Awards for free Today 7:00 AM
- Why Hillary Clinton is getting blamed for a recent spate of unconnected deaths Today 6:30 AM
- How to watch Nick Jr. online for free Today 5:30 AM
- People are not falling for these ICE ‘propaganda’ photos Sunday 4:23 PM
- CLIF Bar and KIND Snacks are in a bizarre social media war Sunday 2:55 PM
- Caillou is how tall? Sunday 1:32 PM
- No, that video of a Boston Dynamics robot attacking its creators is not real Sunday 12:40 PM
- Alex Jones places $1 million bounty on culprit who planted child porn on his InfoWars server Sunday 12:03 PM
- ‘Stranger Things’ star’s new Netflix prank show is receiving backlash Sunday 9:04 AM
- How to watch ‘City on a Hill’ for free Sunday 8:00 AM
- How to watch ‘Euphoria’ for free Sunday 7:00 AM
- Meet the home brewer turning beer into a case for net neutrality Sunday 6:30 AM
Celebs like Kathy Griffin are calling out TMZ for being nice to R. Kelly
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.
— TMZ (@TMZ) January 8, 2019
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.
Why do I go after TMZ? Because of “stories” like this. They are just shills for R Kelly and that’s sick. They posted this yesterday just as R Kelly is seeking to discredit the survivors. As @dreamhampton asked, how does TMZ keep getting these R Kelly exclusives? pic.twitter.com/9Ubfk8TBtE
— Kathy Griffin (@kathygriffin) January 8, 2019
does r kelly hold the only antidote to a rare poison coursing through TMZ’s blood, bc that’s the only explanation for how committed they are to caping for him other than just hating black women oh I answered my own question nm
— Nicole Cliffe (@Nicole_Cliffe) January 8, 2019
— Matthew A. Cherry (@MatthewACherry) January 8, 2019
What is TMZ’s financial relationship with R Kelly https://t.co/XaCTYGgBDj
— Xeni Jardin (@xeni) January 9, 2019
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?”
I would like to know what kind of relationship @TMZ has with R. Kelly & his mgmt team. You produced the video of Joycelyn Savage where she's being off camera directed by his team, you produced clips showing her shopping as evidence she was "free". Who do you work for?
— dream hampton (@dreamhampton) January 7, 2019
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.
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.