Former B2K manager Chris Stokes is vehemently denying claims of sexual molestation that appear in a recent online video made by group member Raz-B and his older brother, who now manages the remaining members of B2K. Stokes, who released a statement Tuesday denying the allegations made by Raz-B, repeated his claims when he spoke exclusively with MTV News on Wednesday (December 26).
Among the allegations made by Raz-B (born DeMario Thornton) and his older brother, Ricardo “Ricky Romantic” Thornton, in the widely circulated clip are that Stokes touched Raz-B when he was a child and forced him to shower with the other members of the group. The pair claim in the video that Marques Houston was also molested by Stokes.
“All the allegations they made are false,” said Stokes, who currently manages Houston and Omarion through his firm, the Ultimate Group Entertainment. “I’m not gay. And I’m married. And I have four kids. I been with my wife for 16 years. And I’m not a child molester. So those are all false allegations. I’m gonna sue them. And I owe that to my wife and kids, period. It’s ridiculous.”
Meanwhile, Kevin Sullivan, Raz-B’s business partner and the COO of their company, Raz Beatz Entertainment, said Wednesday that the singer is not ready to elaborate on his video allegations at this point, but that he is conferring with lawyers and preparing a statement that will possibly help explain his claims.
“With something of this magnitude, you always look at what the best time is [to talk about it,] and he felt compelled … that this has built up,” Sullivan said. “[He was saying,] ’I’m tired, this is my story.’ It’s something that’s spiritual, and God says now is the time.”
Omarion also issued a statement on Wednesday, in which he defended Stokes against the allegations. The singer said Stokes has been a father figure to him and the group, and that his manager never enaged in any activity unbefitting to a minor.
“I want to be on the record as saying that ’Raz-B’ Thornton and Ricardo Thornton are lying regarding Chris Stokes,” Omarion said. “Chris is a father figure to myself and many others in the industry. He’s guided us, helped raised us and is nothing more than an inspiration and someone I respect and look up to. I have spent countless hours, days, weeks and months with the man — since the age of 5 — and have never once seen him behave inappropriately. He’s married to my aunt, and I know this man very well. I stand behind him with no question whatsoever. I have grown up around Chris, and this is crazy to me. These people have damaged me and my reputation. I won’t stand silent and will do all within my means to speak the truth about this matter.”
Much of the video is a purported conversation between Raz-B and Houston’s older sister, identified as Danielle Houston, about her brother, a longtime client of Stokes’. In the clip, Danielle Houston says she does not believe the allegations.
“It all started with Chris Stokes,” Raz-B says in the video. “It started one day when Chris was like — ’Let me touch you’ … I can’t speak for everybody, but if you want my personal opinion, I think he did (touch all the other group members).” Raz-B claims the molestation began when he was 11 or 12 years old, when Ricardo was in another Stokes-managed group before Marques Houston got involved with the TUG management team.
He tells Danielle Houston that came out with the allegations now because Ricardo got so upset when he heard about the alleged molestation that Raz-B thinks his older sibling might be suicidal or possibly about to do something drastic.
“I’m not lying, I’m not lying about a mother—-ing thing,” Raz-B says at one point.
In the second part of the video, Raz-B is seen arguing with an unidentified woman, who appears to be referring to how upset Stokes is by the allegations. “You know why he feels threatened,” Raz-B says in response to the woman’s questions. “Because the whole world already knows, everybody already knows the truth.”
Ricardo Thornton is seen blaming himself for not saving his younger brother from the alleged advances, saying, “Chris [Stokes] made me take showers with the other boys. … All that little sh– that my brother was introduced to, that sh– was brought to me first, and I blocked that sh–. I wasn’t with it, I backed off … I kinda knew what was going on over there, and yet I took my brother over to Chris. I didn’t protect him like I should have. [Stokes] molested my brother and he molested me … when I say that, it hurts …”
The pair later provide what they claim is a confession from Stokes, in which a man identified as the manager says, “I don’t do that anymore. That was me years ago … I just don’t do that in my life anymore.” In a heated exchange with the man identified as Stokes, Ricardo is seen complaining about being escorted out of an event recently thrown by Stokes, and feeling like he and his mother were disrespected at the party. Near the end of the video, the man identified as Stokes appears to offer to meet with Ricardo to talk things over, but Ricardo seems unimpressed and repeats the allegations. The clip ends with the word “why” and a question mark.
According to Stokes’ representative, Ronn Torossian, the video is taken out of context, and Stokes’ comments were referring to his not financially supporting Thornton and his brother.
In his prepared statement released Tuesday, Stokes explained he “recently stopped financially supporting both individuals along with assisting them with their criminal and legal matters, which leads me to believe they are resentful and looking to benefit financially from this.”
According to Stokes, who is related to Raz-B — “He’s my cousin,” Stokes explained. “My mother’s brother’s daughter’s son” — he still assisted Thornton and his brother after the B2K split, through financial support. He also claims he had to post bail for Raz-B as recently as two months ago.
Stokes revealed to MTV News that he, along with Marques Houston’s family members, will be filing police reports on the grounds that Thornton taped their phone calls without receiving their permission first. In the state of California, it is against the law to record a confidential telephone conversation without all parties having knowledge of the action.
Stokes hinted his reason for cutting off the two financially had to do with increased monetary demands from Thornton and his brother.
“You have to understand, since B2K broke up, they’ve done nothing, and they really had no money other than the financial support I gave them,” Stokes said. “And so now, as you seen on the videos, if you did watch them, he’s saying his brother is ready to commit suicide. So at this point, they felt they could just do whatever they feel it would take to get the money.
After the B2K breakup, the former group mates — Raz-B, Dreux “Lil Fizz” Frederic and Jarrell “J-Boog” Houston — claimed Stokes mishandled their finances, an allegation Omarion denied. Since the initial allegations, however, Omarion and Lil Fizz have settled their differences. Fizz appeared in the singer’s video for “Entourage” last year.
Sullivan confirmed that a reality show featuring the former B2K members has been in the works but is currently up in the air due to the fallout from the allegations. MTV News attempted to reach spokespeople for J-Boog and Lil Fizz but could not reach anyone at press time.
Stokes said his lawyers had not been contacted Prior to Raz-B and his brother’s video appearing online. He had no previous knowledge of the accusations, he said.
“Not at all,” Stokes said. “Prior to this, they are making it up. They just went with what they could, I guess, to make something up about me. They really have incriminated themselves in many, many ways.”