Everyone *knew*. For decades. But anyone who could have stopped him, none of them actually cared.
Most of the celebrities, performers, industry executives, and politicians who are today saying "finally", they are merely grandstanding. They didn't care then, and they don't actually care now.
The people who did his accounting, his paperwork, his marketing, his bookings, his promotion, his publicity, his lawyering, the people who were executives, managers, and creatives at his labels, they all knew. And they didn't actually care, as long as the money was flowing and the good times were rolling.
R Kelly is not the sickness of one sick man. He is the sickness of the tens of thousands of people who took his money, and the sickness of the tens of millions of people who gave him money.
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There were people who bought his music. Lots and lots of people. The people who who bought his music, who went to his shows, they knew, and they didn't care.