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Sony Music Drops R. Kelly Amid Backlash From Docu-Series And #MuteRKelly Protests
R. Kelly is no longer listed on RCA Records’ website, despite having been under contract with the label since 2012.
Following protests and growing backlash against R. Kelly, Sony has quietly severed their relationship with the embattled singer, multiple sources report.
Kelly, 52, has become the center of controversy following the airing of Lifetime’s “Surviving R. Kelly” documentary, a six-part series that compiled decades of sexual misconduct allegations against Kelly. Two days after protestors gathered outside of Sony Music’s New York headquarters in support of the #MuteRKelly movement, it seems that the company will no longer be working with Kelly, Variety reports.
The decision was made after company execs “responsibly” examined the issues surrounding Kelly and were able to ensure that making such a move would not open them up to legal consequences, an unnamed source told Variety.
Kelly was formerly with RCA Records, a subsidiary of Sony, but his name is no longer included on the label’s list of signed artists on their website. It’s been missing from the list since Friday morning, according to Variety.
The move marks the end of a seven-year working relationship with RCA. Kelly had been with Jive records since launching his career in the '90s, and became a member of the Sony family when Jive merged with Sony BMG, Billboard reports. Kelly’s contract had been with RCA since 2012, according to the outlet. His most recent studio album, a 2016 Christmas album, was released through RCA, and his catalog of music will reportedly still belong to RCA and Sony, despite the end of the relationship.
Representatives for Sony BMG and RCA declined to comment on the news, according to Variety, whose source also reports that neither company is planning to make an official announcement.
R. Kelly has not issued a public comment, though Billboard reports that both sides agreed to the split.
The move is the latest consequence that Kelly has had to face in the wake of “Surviving R. Kelly.” His peers in the entertainment industry have denounced him on social media, with some artists, like Lady Gaga, even removing their Kelly collaborations from music streaming sites.
Legally, Kelly may also be facing a world of trouble. He’s the center of a criminal investigation in Georgia, and Chicago prosecutors seem ready to follow suit and investigate the many claims of sexual, physical and mental abuse Kelly’s alleged victims detailed in the Lifetime doc.
Kelly was famously charged with child pornography after an anonymous source leaked a sex tape to the media that allegedly showed Kelly having sex with, and urinating on, an underage girl. He was acquitted of all charges in 2008, but has continuously been accused of various types of sexual misconduct in the decades since he launched his career, and is in the midst of at least one lawsuit.
His lawyer, Steven Greenberg, has maintained on Kelly’s behalf that none of the accusations against him are true.
“There are no underage victims,” Greenberg told “Good Morning America.” “There are no sexual assault victims. There are no victims of domestic violence that they’re going to find. It just didn’t ever happen.”
[Photo: Getty Images]