New York, NY – Lanita Carter spoke publicly for the first time in a CBS interview detailing her account of R. Kelly’s alleged sexual abuse that took place when she worked as his hair braider. Kelly currently faces 10 counts of felony aggravated sexual abuse charges involving four women.
Carter is one of the accusers.
While working as his hair braider, Carter had thought of Kelly as a “perfect gentleman.” She defended him amidst his child pornography charges in 2002, saying “he is nothing like what they say.”
Then, on February 18, 2003, Carter said Kelly asked for a head massage while she was working. She said she laughed it off and told him she did not do massages. That’s when Kelly allegedly became aggressive with her and demanded oral sex.
“He pulled my braid down by him and he said, ‘Suck it for daddy,'” she said on CBS This Morning.
Carter, who was 24-years-old at the time, refused and says Kelly began masturbating and spat in her face six times. When someone knocked on the door, he told her to “fix your face.”
She reported the incident to the police that same day and the Tommy Hilfiger shirt she’d been wearing was taken as evidence with Kelly’s semen on it. Instead of charges being filed, Carter was paid two settlements to keep quiet, the first for $650,000 and the second for $100,000, both in which the R&B singer admitted no wrongdoing.
The second settlement was made to prohibit Kelly from performing “Hair Braider,” a song about having sex with a woman who braids his hair and including it on future albums. Carter recalled similarities of the couch and hairstyle in the video, a style she was known for doing and an L-shaped couch, similar to the one she was allegedly assaulted on.
Although the settlements came with nondisclosure agreements, Carter said she was inspired to break them and share her story after hearing Chicago Attorney Kimberly Foxx’s public plea and seeing Kelly’s CBS interview with Gayle King.
“Celebrities are powerful. Celebrities have support systems. I have no support system,” Carter said in the tearful interview. “I’ve been carrying this since 2003… If I die tomorrow, at least I know that I told my truth.”
Kelly pleaded not guilty to all charges in February and is currently free on bail. His lawyer, Steve Greenberg, told the Chicago Sun-Times that police had done an “extensive investigation” at the time, adding, “The state’s attorney’s office decided not to charge it. I think that speaks volumes about the strength of the case.”