Several activists have called on radio stations and streaming services to remove R. Kelly’s music from its platforms due to the numerous sexual abuse allegations against him. Spotify is on board.
While the singer’s songs will still be available on the service, the company announced it will no longer actively promote it in any way, Billboard reports. As of May 10, users will no longer be able to find the artist’s music on any of the site’s editorial or algorithmic playlists, including flagship ones like RapCaviar, Discover Weekly, New Music Friday and other genre- or mood-based playlists.
The changes were enacted under the terms of Spotify’s new public hate content and hateful conduct, which states that the brand does “not tolerate hate content that expressly and principally promotes, advocates, or incites hatred or violence.”
“While we don’t believe in censoring content because of an artist’s or creator’s behavior, we want our editorial decisions - what we choose to program - to reflect our values,” the company said in a press release. “So, in some circumstances, when an artist or creator does something that is especially harmful or hateful (for example, violence against children and sexual violence), it may affect the ways we work with or support that artist or creator.”
Earlier this month, Tom Joyner vowed to stop playing Kelly’s music on his morning radio show after Tarana Burke, the founder of the #MeToo movement, made an appearance to explain why she believes listening to his music commends bad behavior.
In fact, the Time’s Up organization launched a campaign specifically targeting Kelly over the the sexual abuse allegations against him.
“We demand appropriate investigations and inquiries into the allegations of R. Kelly's abuse made by women and their families for more than two decades now. And we declare with great vigilance and a united voice to anyone who wants to silence us — their time is up,” the organizers wrote in a statement.
The social media campaign #MuteRKelly, which seeks to stop his music from being played and cancel his concerts, launched last year. Time’s Up said it would also be collaborating with those activists.
Although Kelly is not facing any criminal charges and is not known to be under investigation, he has been accused of many crimes over the years, which he has denied.
Kelly’s attorney at the time, Linda Mensch, sent a statement to the AJC refuting the claims in Buzzfeed.
“Mr. Robert Kelly is both alarmed and disturbed at the recent revelations attributed to him,” the statement said. “Mr. Kelly unequivocally denies such allegations and will work diligently and forcibly to pursue his accusers and clear his name.”
In April 2018, Mensch and Kelly’s assistant resigned from their positions after working with the entertainer for years.
In 2008, he was acquitted on 14 charges of making child pornography.