Social media users were angry/delighted when they mistakenly thought R. Kelly had been released from prison after a photo and a video of the disgraced singer with his lawyer, that was posted to Twitter this week, went viral.
However, it was quickly revealed that it was actually an old photo of the 54-year-old that was posted by a Twitter user in South Africa.
The picture and brief clip showed defiant R&B singer and songwriter R. Kelly wearing a red jacket over a grey hoodie and holding documents as he walked away from what looked like a prison, accompanied by his lawyer, Steven Greenberg.
Musician Robert Kelly is currently being held at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Illinois, waiting for two separate trials in Chicago and New York on federal criminal charges, including sex abuse and kidnapping.
The tweet was quickly reshared on Twitter and Instagram, fuelling the rumors before people started to point out that the photo was, in fact, from 2019, when R. Kelly was leaving Cook County Jail after a hearing for failing to pay child support.
The video featured R. Kelly walking out of jail after he had failed to make child support payments for his three children to his ex-wife, Andrea “Drea” Kelly.
That day, the controversial and legendary artist told his loyal fans: “I promise you we’re going to straighten all of this out. I love my fans.”
Over the past year, R. Kelly has sought to use the coronavirus pandemic as a reason for why he should be released since there have been a number of outbreaks in prisons.
While some social media users believed the tweet, another pointed out that — “for the record” — the photo was from 2019.
The fan informed the public by saying: “For the record: R Kelly is still in jail. His trial date was set for April, but COVID-19 has delayed the process, according to reports. He awaits two trials, one in Chicago and another in New York. This pic is from 2019. He’s walking out after his child support hearing.”
R. Kelly’s trial date was originally set for April, after he was indicted in July 2019 on criminal charges, which include sexual assault, kidnapping, forced labor, and producing child pornography.
The pandemic has delayed the hearings so far, which have been pushed back several times in both Chicago and New York.
A hearing in Chicago is set to go ahead on September 13, and the court has said they will begin jury selection in September.
However, this is not “set in stone” and could change if there are further delays due to coronavirus.
The hearing in New York was rescheduled to August 9 at a remote hearing in April.