R Kelly’s sexual abuse case is far from over. Prior to his scheduled appearance in court, he sat down with veteran journalist Gayle King for his first televised interview since the charges. In the interview that will go down in history, Kelly loses it, rants, and cries, while vehemently denying the accusations. But it seems he convinced no one. Like one netizen noted, “R. Kelly isn’t even talking to Gayle so much as he’s talking to the camera. He wants this interview to be another performance.” But the real star of that interview was Gayle King, who handled the meltdown with poise and class.
Key things we learned from the R. Kelly interview: 1. R Kelly is a much better singer than he is an actor; 2. He is desperate and distraught because he knows he has been caught. 3. He thinks sexual assault of young girls in the “way way past” cannot be charged. 4. He is guilty.
The powerful juxtaposition between them—Gayle sitting down and visibly composed, while Kelly is standing, his hands wildly flying in the air—was caught in a photo that many saw as a significant depiction of something deeper.
Some netizens commented on the gender dynamics displayed in the photo. They say that photo is a depiction of what it means to be a woman—specifically a black woman—in this society. Others noted that his behavior was very telling. Like one netizen wrote: “The R. Kelly interview is abuser 101: when threatened or even mildly challenged, respond by screaming, blaming, and escalating physically until you regain control. If this is how he treats a powerful woman on national television, imagine how he treats vulnerable girls in private.”
Meanwhile, many can’t help but compare his reactions to Brett Kavanaugh. The judge, who was also accused of sexual assault, cried as he was insisting his innocence too, during his Supreme Court hearing. Nevertheless, he got the position so maybe R Kelly watched it for some pointers? However, one person pointed out that Kavanaugh’s emotional display was “seen as righteous outrage,” while Kelly’s was perceived as “abusive anger.”
R- Kelly was watching the Bret Kavanaugh interview and was like “if I get loud they’ll think I’m innocent”
There are so many ways to interpret the whole scenario, but I think we can all agree: Gayle King is a class act and is the of great journalism. Even on moments when the interview felt very hostile and so you’d expect her to keep silent, she kept on telling him: “You’re playing the victim.” In an interview with O magazine, she said she wasn’t really scared. “What I was really thinking to myself was: I’m not done with this interview, so I’m going to let him have his moment. If I stood up even to comfort him, that could have been his invitation to say ‘This is over.’ So I didn’t interrupt his anger and let him have that.”
Gayle is poised, tough and she reads aloud the names of many of the women who have accused R. Kelly of abuse. This is Journalism at its best. Exposing alleged corruption and evil. Abuse… https://t.co/NHg8ywXrp5
Spoken like a true boss, I am officially a fan. Gayle wasn’t there for R. Kelly’s BS, but kept it professional the whole time.
That explosive scene was just the first part of the interview. No doubt we’ll be treated to more insights, so best believe I’ll be watching—not for Kelly’s nonsense, but to take notes from Gayle’s journalism.
Art by Marian Hukom
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