A letter posted by a subcommittee of Time’s Up in America marks the first time since Harvey Weinstein that the collective against sexual harassment has called for action against an individual abuser.

Women of Color of Time’s Up, which “aims to organise around issues that are especially important to women and girls of colour”, has publicly called out R&B artist R. Kelly. They demand investigations into abuse allegations and the ostracising of the artist by any company with ties to him, including his label RCA Records and ticketing corporation Ticketmaster.

In a statement posted to The Rootthe subcommittee which includes Ava DuVernay, Shonda Rhimes, and Jurnee Smollett-Bell outlined R. Kelly’s instances of abuse over two decades. It also calls upon Spotify and a North Carolina venue (which is set to host his concert on May 11) to cut all ties with the artist.

Today we join an existing online campaign called #MuteRKelly.

Over the past 25 years, the man known publicly as R. Kelly has sold 60 million albums, toured the globe repeatedly and accumulated hundreds of millions of plays on radio and streaming services.

During this time, he also …

  • Married a girl under 18 years of age;
  • Was sued by at least four women for sexual misconduct, statutory rape, aggravated assault, unlawful restraint and furnishing illegal drugs to a minor;
  • Was indicted on 21 counts of child pornography;
  • Has faced allegations of sexual abuse and imprisonment of women under threats of violence and familial harm
#mutekelly sign by WOC time's up

Together, we call on the following corporations and venues with ties to R. Kelly to join us and insist on safety and dignity for women of all kinds:

  • 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 May 11;
  • Spotify and Apple Music: the popular streaming platforms currently monetizing R. Kelly’s music;
  • Greensboro Coliseum Complex: the North Carolina venue is currently hosting an R. Kelly concert May 11.

Read the statement over at The Root.

A spokesperson for R. Kelly gave the following statement to BuzzFeed:

“R. Kelly supports the pro-women goals of the Time’s Up movement. We understand criticising a famous artist is a good way to draw attention to those goals — and in this case, it is unjust and off-target.”

Locally, NOW Australia is seeking support to end sexual harassment, intimidation and assault in all workplaces, including the music industry.

There is only one day left to donate to the NOW Fund, which will be used to connect people to the counselling and legal support they need, while creating strategies to eliminate sexual harassment in the workplace for the next generation.

“For Australia to truly embrace this movement, we need to see at least three changes: extending the civil statute of limitations; introducing proper protections for freedom of speech; and reassessing our defamation laws, which protect the rich and powerful,” NOW Australia’s Tracey Spicer wrote for The Daily Telegraph.

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