In response to an initiative undertaken by WOC, the women of color branch within Time’s Up, to join the online #MuteRKelly campaign, a rep for the singer has issued the following statement from his management:
“Kelly supports the pro-women goals of the Time’s Up movement. We understand criticizing a famous artist is a good way to draw attention to those goals—and in this case, it is unjust and off-target.
“We fully support the rights of women to be empowered to make their own choices. Time’s Up has neglected to speak with any of the women who welcome R. Kelly’s support, and it has rushed to judgment without the facts. Soon it will become clear Mr. Kelly is the target of a greedy, conscious and malicious conspiracy to demean him, his family and the women with whom he spends his time.
“Kelly’s music is a part of American and African-American culture that should never—and will never—be silenced. Since America was born, black men and women have been lynched for having sex or for being accused of it. We will vigorously resist this attempted public lynching of a black man who has made extraordinary contributions to our culture.”
–Thanks for listening. R. Kelly management.”
In a statement, WOC wrote that, “for too long, our community has ignored our pain. The pain we bear is a burden that too many women of color have had to bear for centuries. The wounds run deep,” followed by the announcement that Time’s Up will be joining the existing online campaign #MuteRKelly. It also called upon RCA Records, Spotify, Apple Music, Ticketmaster and the Greensboro Coliseum in North Carolina, where Kelly is scheduled to perform in May, to “join us and insist on safety and dignity for women of all kinds.” The organization’s statement reads:
- RCA Records – The venerable music label currently produces and distributes R. Kelly’s music;
• Ticketmaster – The popular ticketing system is currently issuing tickets for R. Kelly’s show on May 11;
• Spotify and Apple Music – The popular streaming platforms currently monetizing R. Kelly’s music;
• Greensboro Coliseum Complex – The venue is currently hosting an R. Kelly concert on May 11.
Kelly has a long history of alleged misconduct with underaged women, including an annulled marriage to singer Aaliyah when she was 15; a long trial centering around a video allegedly depicting him having sex with an underaged women for which he was ultimately acquitted; and multiple accusations in recent months that he is running an “abusive sex cult” and essentially imprisoning women in his homes in Atlanta and Chicago. Kelly has maintained his innocence amid all of the allegations.
Earlier this month, Kelly’s entertainment attorney, Linda Mensch; his publicist, Trevian Kutti; and his executive assistant, Diana Copeland, all confirmed that they had resigned.