Former Epic Records Intern Claims R. Kelly Began Abusing Her When She Was 16
Seventeen years ago, a 18-year-old Epic Records intern Tracy Sampson sued R. Kelly for sexual abuse after being involved in a relationship with the singer for two years. Now, for the first time, she's speaking out about R. Kelly's about the singer's alleged abuse.
In a new episode NBC’s Dateline, Sampson claims that the singer was mentally and physically abusive to her. In her exclusive interview with NBC News’ Andrea Canning, she alleges that she met the singer at the age of 16 while working as an intern at Epic Records in 1999. They dated for two years before Sampson broke up with Kelly when she was 18 years old.
“I was in love with him. I just didn’t know what to do,” she said. “Like, I didn’t know if this was normal. I didn’t know if this is how adults acted. Like, I – I just didn’t know. I didn’t know.”
Sampson recalls an incident when they first met that Kelly wanted to kiss her. “‘Well, can I kiss you?’” she recalled the singer asking her. “And I was like, ‘No.’ He’s like, ‘Okay, well, give me a hug.’ And then, like, when I gave him a hug he just started kissing me.”
After leaving Kelly, Sampson filed a lawsuit against the Grammy-winning artist claiming he sexually abused her. Kelly settled with Sampson with a $250,000 out-of-court settlement.
However, Kelly’s attorney, Steve Greenberg, has told Dateline that his client denies all the allegations against him. When asked if all of the women who have come forward are lying, he responded, “Yes. Everyone of them, yes.”
Since the airing of the Surviving R. Kelly docuseries, several artists, including Chance The Rapper, have removed their collaborations with the singer from all streaming and digital platforms. Recently, Sony Music and Kelly have agreed to part ways.
This comes after protesters launched a #DropRKelly petition with 100,000 signatures in front of Sony's New York City headquarters.
Nevertheless, Kelly's attorney says that Kelly is staying positive in light of his recent turmoil.
"The record companies are abandoning him. Other artists are all of a sudden acting like they’re shocked by these rumors that – that are floating around," Greenberg told Dateline. "He’s having a very difficult time. But he is strong, he’s tough. He wants to put out his music and continue performing for people. And I expect that’s what he’ll be able to do.”
NBC’s Dateline program Accused: The R. Kelly Story airs tonight (Jan. 18) at 10 p.m. EST.
Watch part of NBC's Dateline report on Sampson below.
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