In one of the more low-profile major concert announcements in recent memory, R. Kelly is scheduled to perform at the Hulu Theatre at New York City’s Madison Square Garden next month. While the announcement of the concert, scheduled for Sept. 15, was posted on the venue’s website, ticketing platforms, and Kelly’s RCA Records artist page on Friday, few noticed until Spin published an article on it Monday.
The concert comes when Kelly’s reputation is arguably at its lowest point in years, as decades of sexual-misconduct accusations — most recently allegations that he is holding young women captive in an abusive “cult” — have led to concert cancellations and a change in Spotify’s playlist policy (which has since been walked back, although Kelly’s music still is not on the service’s playlists).
A representative for MSG told Variety, “MSG has a long history of not censoring performers. We believe artists have the right to rent our venues to put on their own event, and that the public then has the choice whether or not to support that event.”
Contacted by Variety, a rep for Hulu — which, ironically, is producing a documentary about Kelly’s alleged abuse — declined comment, although companies that sponsor venues often have little say in booking policy and decisions.
Late last month, Kelly addressed the multiple accusations of sexual misconduct against himin a sprawling 19-minute song called “I Admit.” In it, the singer strikes a familiar defensive tone, singing about the tall odds he overcame to attain success, accusing haters of trying to destroy his career and hangers-on of spending his money or benefiting from his largess.