Faith Rodgers Says It’s ‘Beyond Insulting’ To Call R. Kelly A Victim
Faith Rogers, who testified as a Jane Doe in the federal case against R. Kelly, spoke out on Friday for the first time since the singer’s conviction. The 24-year-old replied to comments made by Bill Cosby’s publicist, Andrew Wyatt, that Kelly was “railroaded.”
“It was disheartening to see even years and a second trial later that an abuser, my abuser, and the abuser of many women is being held up as a victim and even considered to be ‘railroaded,’” she said in a press conference. Rodgers sat next to her lawyer, Gloria Allred, as her parents stood behind her.
“The women who are victims of R. Kelly had many nights of being reminded of their own trauma, which resulted from being abused by [him],” she continued. “I hope the conviction makes it easier to think about those times. And when you have those nights of anxiety, worry or just feeling left out because you made the choice to stop your abuser, know that it was not in vain. I pray that instead of pointing the finger, we can learn to take care and truly protect our Black women.”
Wyatt, who represented Cosby in during his now-overturned sexual assault case, told the New York Post in September that the disgraced comedian thought that Kelly “got railroaded,” was “screwed” and that “he wasn’t going to catch a break.” Wyatt also told TMZ that Kelly’s conviction was “an assault on successful Black men who are doing great things.”
Rodgers said that Kelly, 54, received a fair trial based on facts and that the term “railroaded” is “beyond insulting.”
On Sept. 27, Kelly was convicted on one count of racketeering and eight counts of violating the Mann Act, which prohibits the transportation of women and minors across state lines for “immoral purposes.” Rodgers, who met Kelly when she was 19, testified that he manipulated her, abused her and knowingly transmitted genital herpes to her without informing her that he had an STD.
When Kelly found out that she was going to talk about her abuse publicly, the singer threatened to blackmail Rogers and expose explicit photos her, which he did. Rodgers’ photos were posted on the Facebook page “Surviving Lies,” which the prosecution presented as evidence in the trial. Facebook has since deactivated the page.
During the press conference, Faith said she was harassed and ridiculed after she began talking about her abuse. She said that she lost friends and often felt lonely in the years leading up to the federal trial in Brooklyn.
“I’ve gone through all the embarrassment. Everything is being said about me. There’s nothing more you can do to me at that point,” she said. “So the stress of it all, of course, it caused me anxiety, all types of medical problems. I’m in a much better space now but through it, in that moment, I didn’t know if I was gonna make it through or how I was gonna redeem myself after all of this … It’s already hard enough going up against people’s favorite.”
Kelly was visibly upset during Rodgers’ testimony, shaking his head and becoming aggravated as she spoke. At one point during her testimony while evidence was presented featuring his music, Kelly began pretending to play piano.
During the press conference, Rodgers called Kelly’s behavior “childish” and “not appropriate for court.”
Allred, who represented three of the five victims who testified against Kelly, said that Rodgers’ testimony was “very powerful and important in convicting R. Kelly.”
“Throughout all of this, Faith Rodgers has refused to be intimidated or perturbed from testifying against Mr. Kelly,” Allred said. “She was determined to tell her truth, despite the lies and the attacks upon her throughout the long ordeal, including an intense cross examination by the defense. She has conducted herself with grace, dignity and courage.”
Rodgers said that now that Kelly is convicted, she feels a weight off her chest. She said that she has nothing to say to Kelly and that “the apology is his conviction.” She does hope, however, that he feels some type of remorse by the time of his sentencing, which is scheduled for May 4, 2022.
She said she wants to heal by moving on with her life and possibly pursuing writing. She said she doesn’t consider herself a victim or a survivor, but an advocate for others to tell their stories.
“The greatest gift was not the conviction but knowing I helped someone else in my shoes,” she said.