Content Warning: This article about R. Kelly discusses sexual abuse and domestic violence. If you or someone you know is affected by the following story, you are not alone. To speak to someone, you can call Lifeline on 13 11 14, or 1800 RESPECT on 1800 737 732.
After testifying at his trial, R. Kelly’s executive assistant Diana Copeland has denied knowledge of any abuse by the rapper.
Diana Copeland, executive assistant to rapper R. Kelly – currently on trial for multiple charges including sexual assault, sex trafficking, racketeering, sex with minors, bribery and more – has denied knowledge of or witnessing any abuse while under his employment.
Copeland testified at Kelly’s trial earlier at week, before appearing on Good Morning America for an interview, where she spoke of her time on Kelly’s team.
“[I] never witnessed something under … around underage women,” Copeland said on the show. “Now, I did come and go, so I mean, I want to make sure that I am clear that my experience does not negate anybody else’s experience.”
Copeland claims that in the 16 years she worked for Kelly – during which she oversaw his estate and managed staff and other work – she did not see any women around Kelly who were minors. She also claims being positive about their ages, having made their travel arrangements.
In her interview, she also said that while the women “ranged in ages,” there was “no one under 18.”
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“In fact, when this case came up, I’m reading that women are locked up and kidnapped, and things of that nature. And that’s not what I’m seeing. I’m not seeing anybody that’s trying to leave or any locked doors. Every woman that’s left has walked right out the door.” she said.
Copeland also corroborated the claims made by many that people in Kelly’s house were expected to follow strict rules. While she did note that women involved with Kelly would often ask Copeland to interact with the men, she did not specify whether it was on his orders. She added, however: “I would say that you can pretty much surmise that was probably the case.”
She did not specify whether she believed the women were fearful of the rapper, claiming: “His personal life is Robert’s personal life. So, my job stops at the threshold of his bedroom door.”
Earlier this week, one of R. Kelly’s former dancers alleged that he performed a sexual act on an underaged Aaliyah. The rapper has also been accused of falsifying documents to marry the late singer, who was underaged at the time.
Another witness, Sonja, claimed that the rapper locked her in a room and raped her for days. Other witnesses have testified that the rapper had at least one confirmed male victim, also underaged. Accusers have also said that Kelly pressured them to write letters absolving him, claiming no abuse and coercion on the rapper’s part.
You can read more on this topic on the Hip Hop Observer.