R&B singer R Kelly says he is "alarmed and disturbed" by an investigative report claiming he is keeping a household of young women in an "abusive cult", controlling "every aspect of their lives".
The accusations, which Kelly has "unequivocally" denied, were published on Monday by US media outlet Buzzfeed News.
The report accused the 50-year-old of "brainwashing" young women who had gotten close to him in the hopes of boosting their music careers.
It alleges Kelly had been holding six women in Chicago and Atlanta, where their contact with the outside world was restricted and their routines controlled with rules about "what they eat, how they dress, when they bathe, when they sleep, and how they engage in sexual encounters that he records".
"The women who live with Kelly, who he calls his 'babies', are required to call him 'Daddy' and must ask his permission to leave the Chicago recording studio or their assigned rooms," the report reads.
What does Kelly say?
Kelly released a statement in response to the article through his attorney, Linda Mensch, who said the singer was "both alarmed and disturbed at the recent revelations attributed to him".
"Mr Kelly unequivocally denies such allegations and will work diligently and forcibly to pursue his accusers and clear his name," she said.
But BuzzFeed defended the article, saying in an emailed statement: "We stand fully behind the story, which was based on nine months of interviews and old-fashioned investigative reporting."
Kelly has not been charged with any crime.
He is one of the most successful R&B artists of the last two decades, with three Grammy awards, 12 studio albums and some 40 million records sold worldwide.
Investigation cites family members, former associates
The BuzzFeed article cited interviews with three unnamed sets of parents - one couple has since been named as Timothy and Jonjelyn Savage - who said they had not seen or spoken with their daughters in months.
The article, which became one of the top-trending items on social media on Monday, cited one mother saying the set-up was a "cult".
Some family members cited in the article expressed frustration at limited communications with their daughters.
The BuzzFeed report also cited three former associates of Kelly - Cheryl Mack, Kitti Jones, and Asante McGee.
Both Ms Jones and Ms McGee said they had lived with and been sexually involved with Kelly, and that he had treated them in a similar manner.
Ms Jones, Ms McGee and Ms Mack said if the women broke the rules they would be punished by Kelly physically and verbally.
They said the arrangement included, until recently, "a 31-year-old 'den mother' who 'trained' newcomers on how Kelly liked to be pleasured sexually".
What do the alleged victims say?
BuzzFeed reported that two families had sought help from police but the women had rebuffed attempts by authorities or their parents to investigate or bring them home.
The youngest woman, an 18-year-old, told Cook Country police in January she was "fine and did not want to be bothered", the report said.
After the BuzzFeed investigation was published, one of the alleged victims, 21-year-old Jocelyn Savage, denied the reports in a webcam interview with TMZ.
"I'm not being brainwashed or anything like that," Ms Savage said.
"It's just came to a point where it definitely has got out of hand, so, you know, I just want everybody to know - my parents and everybody in the world - that I'm totally fine.
"I'm happy where I'm at and everything is OK with me."
Following the TMZ interview, Ms Savage's parents, Timothy and Jonjelyn, told CNN they believed their daughter had been "coached" into denying the claims.
All of the women were over the age of consent, according to the BuzzFeed report.
A history of alleged misconduct
Kelly has a history of alleged sexual misconduct towards women.
In 2008, he was acquitted of 14 charges of making child pornography after a videotape emerged allegedly showing him having sex with an underage girl.
Allegations that Kelly "abused his position of fame and influence to pursue illegal sexual relationships with underage girls" have also been the subject of at least a dozen other cases settled out of court, BuzzFeed reports.
- ABC / Reuters