We Asked A Body Language Expert To Break Down R. Kelly's CBS Interview
Okayplayer spoke with behavioral analysis expert Dr. Lillian Glass for an examination of what R. Kelly's verbal and non-verbal communication may signify.
R. Kelly sat down for his first interview since being charged with 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse last month.
Following the release of dream hampton’s Surviving R. Kelly Lifetime docu-series which chronicles and contextualizes decades of allegations against the controversial singer, Kelly now faces an onslaught of new charges and pending trials, amplified attention, and condemnation of his documented past, public scrutiny, and speculation on his future.
The latest abuse accusations against him involve four women, three of whom were allegedly underage at the time. Kelly, who had previously been freed after a Chicago resident and businesswoman paid his $100,000 bond, is now in custody again on separate failed child support payment charges and is slated to be transferred back to the Cook County, Illinois jail, has denied all allegations made against him and plead not guilty. He doubled down on the stance, asserting that he believes all of the women who have spoken out are “liars,” in the first portion of journalist Gayle King's exclusive sit-down that aired on "CBS This Morning" today (March 6).
Okayplayer spoke with body language expert and author Dr. Lilllian Glass — an authority in behavioral analysis, psychology, genetic illnesses, and vocal forensics. She examined key behavioral, physical, and speech patterns and explained what R. Kelly’s verbal and non-verbal communication in the interview signified and revealed. We discussed his words, movements, posture, actions, and history and assessed how this interview may affect his ongoing sexual abuse case and upcoming trial.
One of the last interviews R. Kelly did was with Huffington Post. He was confronted, and he walked off of set in 2015.
When you walk off of a set that means you have something to hide. Because if you're going to deal with it, you deal with it head-on.
So what do you think the tears signify? Defensiveness or honesty or sympathy?
Fear. Those tears were real, straight forward. His anger turned to fear. I think he's scared to death. The reality hit in.
Some people are commenting that they're theatric.
No. There's nothing theatrical about him. He is very frightened. He's scared to death. As he was speaking, everything came in. Kind of like a revelation — “Oh my god. This is the real story here, I may not make it. I'm fighting for my life." His life is over and he can sense it.
Do you believe he realized that in the moment?
Yes, I think he realized it in the moment.
Are you able to pick up on any type of mental illness or diagnosis from his behavior and speech?
I think what you're getting is a guy who’s been entitled. I mean he's had groupies all over him and then his preference is obviously, from what we've heard, allegedly, these young women, young girls. That's his woman of choice or young woman of choice I should say, and he took full advantage of this. [Girls] who are star struck, who are innocent, who are not gonna fight him, who are not gonna give him any lip so to speak. This is his power. He's got power over these women.
Do you think he has any power now?
No. We see him with his shoulders down. We never saw R. Kelly with his shoulders hunched over. His posture goes into a fetal position. I think Gayle's interview, which was very straight forward, just kind of shocked him— was like a mirror to him. But his head is down, and those tears are just so real. When he was crying, he put his hands up, and you don't see the palms of his hands, you see the back of his hands. When you see the back of someone's hands, usually that's deception. If you see the palms, it's usually they're telling the truth.
Do you think there's any semblance of him trying to deliberately make signals to implicate anything?
Well, [Gayle] asked him a question, he goes, "That's my past." But he didn't not admit that he didn't have those problems. He could say, "Oh that wasn't true at all." But he just kind of implicated himself about his past.
Could you read anything from Gayle — her movements or body language?
Gayle was a true professional. She was very straight forward and not letting him get off the hook but in a non-judgemental way. You really saw her skills as a journalist come out here. She's one of the finest interviewers we've ever seen — to keep her cool under this duress. Maybe even better than Oprah. I mean, we have really seen somebody shine completely. So that's the good news.
Is he exhibiting textbook sociopath behavior?
Possibly. Somebody that doesn't take responsibility; that blames. It's not like you say, "Well, this never happened." He's blaming other people for his transgression. That's one of the symptoms.
This is not just somebody who is accused. He's been entitled for so long— to get away with all of his transgressions and now it's the real deal. He's gotten away with this behavior for a long time. And it's caught up with him, and that's why he reacts. There's a lot of anger. And now he’s scared to death, so he's trying to elicit sympathy, which is another sociopathic behavior. Blaming and trying to manipulate.
There's no question we're seeing a sociopath. It's like somebody murders somebody and saying, "You know what? You allowed this murder to happen because you have people around." R. Kelly is now blaming the parents for, as he said it, “selling” him the girls. The bottom line is, this is a very sick, sick predator and he needs to be removed from society immediately.
He ranted and raved. He had genuine emotion, genuine tears. He's scared. We see fear. Fear in his face, fear in his body language. And then we see him with genuine emotion, genuine tears. We see him look away from Gayle when she asks him poignant questions that are a sign of deception. So we see many signals of deception.
Do you think he can continue to function within society?
At any point?
If he’s a sociopath, he's incurable. You can never cure a sociopath.
Are there any other people that you've seen exhibit these behaviors?
Aileen Wuornos. She was sentenced to death. She was a serial killer. She was accusing the police and said the police were watching her and they allowed her to kill these men that she killed. And not saying that [R. Kelly] is a serial killer, but it's that same mentality, that same blaming others for transgressions.
Gayle sitting down and him standing up and yelling is a very striking image on screen.
It just shows you what a trained journalist she was to keep her cool. But she could have been in harm's way herself. Physically, from an anger point of view, he was out of control. This is very frightening. When we saw this, we've seen R. Kelly exposed.
If you have seen this behavior, the question arises, "is there a possibility he did that with the little girl? Did he show these behaviors to the little girls, which may have intimidated them if they rebuked him? Was he that intimidating to these little girls who may not have wanted to come to him.?"
In a statement from Joycelyn Savage’s family— one of the women who has allegedly been held captive—one of the family members are asking the same question you're asking: "if he's doing this on camera, imagine what he could have done behind closed doors?"
People's behaviors are a microcosm of how they act with other people. He's so menacing and big. Can you imagine what we've seen if he had those same behaviors with them? And the fact that he's yelling, he could be violent. That's violent behavior.
The full video hasn't aired.
We've seen enough right now to create a question in our mind that even the parents are asking, “could he have done this with other little children? Could he have been so menacing that he frightened them?”
Another interview is expected to air with Joycelyn Savage and Azriel Clary. He claims they are his girlfriends but their parents claim he's holding them captive.
We don't really need to see a whole lot of other things after seeing this. We've seen somebody that could be potentially violent because his movements were violent movements. And if it would have been another interviewer who would have been provocative or he wouldn't have known, who knows what would have happened?
Where do you see this going in the end? His trial is coming up.
I'm glad he did this interview. Gayle should be applauded. But if he has a lawyer, the lawyer should be disbarred if he allowed him to speak. All you have to do is show this in a courtroom... No jury in their right mind is going to allow him to go free after this.
This piece explores Dr. Lillian Glass' individual assessment and examination and does not necessarily reflect the views of Okayplayer.