“Tha God’s Honest Truth” host, born Lenard McKelvey has openly shared his therapy journey with fans and discussed his road to healing after realizing decades later that he was molested by his cousin’s ex-wife at 8 years old. For the majority of his life, he admits that he, like many other young men, felt that the interaction with an “older woman” was a badge of honor, but had the slow realization that he was taken advantage of after watching Tyler Perry’s 2010 sit-down with Oprah Winfrey.
“When I first watched that interview, I wasn’t nowhere near doing any kind of work on myself, but I saw it in real-time back in the day when he was on ‘Oprah,'” explained “The Breakfast Club” co-host. “I watched him crying and I remember saying to myself, ‘Well, you know, what’s wrong with him?’ Because I think the way that men process sexual assault is different. We don’t look at it as sexual assault, we look at it as ‘I was 8, you know, getting it popping with an older woman.'”
Charlamagne explained that his ability to process what he went through as trauma came with age. “I literally remember me and my guys at that age having conversations about being with older women back then,” he said. “None of us processed it as sexual assault. That’s not something that I processed as sexual assault until I was in my late 30s. Then I just understood it more because you just don’t know what that did to you.”
The “Black Privilege” author was previously accused of sexual assault himself in 2001 by a young woman, Jessica Reid, who was 15 when she attended the party hosted by Charlamagne with a friend. Reid and the friend allegedly were given “a liquid to drink that tasted like soda,” which is the last thing Reid’s friend remembered before waking up to a man trying to kiss her and finding Reid “in the room across from where [her friend] was, naked and crying, stating she had been raped.”
He pleaded guilty to contributing to the delinquency of a minor for providing alcohol at the party where the incident occurred, in exchange for the state dismissing the charge of criminal sexual conduct with a minor. The television personality also maintains that he never had any sort of “physical contact with the alleged victim whatsoever.”
“Over seventeen years ago, I pled guilty to ‘Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor’ and served 3 years of probation after irresponsibly hosting a party where alcohol was served to minors,” he previously told Billboard in a statement. “I will forever regret my role in creating an environment that was less than safe. I cooperated with authorities, participated in multiple interviews, and submitted to DNA testing. Ultimately the assault charge was dismissed because I had no physical contact with the alleged victim whatsoever.”