The women who accused R. Kelly of sexual abuse last year in an explosive docuseries that led to the singer’s being charged with numerous sex crimes are back in the spotlight.
“Surviving R. Kelly Part II: The Reckoning” serves as a follow-up to Lifetime first six episodes that detailed new allegations of the physical, mental and sexual abuse women and girls have suffered allegedly at the hands of 52-year-old Kelly.
In the new series, which premieres Thursday, additional women come forward and the same women featured before speak out about the backlash they’ve faced since going public with their stories.
Faith Rodgers, 21, said she and her parents have been through hell since she spoke out and noted she has received death threats. Rodgers said she first began a relationship with Kelly when she was 19.
She claimed Kelly regularly abused her “mentally, sexually and verbally,” and used his iPad to film her performing “deviant and compromising” sex acts against her will, according to Rodgers’ lawsuit against Kelly, which was obtained by Variety.
She shot down claims made by Kelly’s attorney in a statement to CBS News that Lifetime’s follow-up series was “lies and distortion” and that the women featured “are not victims, they are profiteers.”
“It’s actually something I’ve learned to just laugh at, at this point,” Rodgers told CBS News.
Lizzette Martinez said she was 17 when she met Kelly and that he slapped her on five different occasions. She said she’s been bullied and received threats in the wake of speaking out.
"You don't realize the backlash that's coming," Martinez, now 42, told Inside Edition. She said she has lost her job, she and her kids were displaced and has seen an influx of hate sent her way online. But none of the backlash will stop her from speaking out, she said.
"I'm going to continue telling my story," she said. "No one is going to stop me."
Part one of “Surviving R, Kelly” was watched by 26 million viewers. Kelly, whose full name is Robert Sylvester Kelly, has since been charged with sex-trafficking, sexual assault and child pornography.
Kelly is currently incarcerated as he awaits trial. He has pleaded not guilty and denies all allegations of wrongdoing.
“He needs to go to jail forever,” Rodgers told CBS News. “There needs to be no getting out, no anything. It hasn’t just been me. It’s a track record. So even if it’s not justice for me, for the next person, that’s good enough.”
"Surviving R. Kelly Part II: The Reckoning" airs Jan. 2-4 on Lifetime.