Content Warning: This article discusses sexual assault, and rape. If you or someone you know are affected by the following story, you are not alone. To speak to someone, you can call Lifeline on 13 11 14, or 1800 RESPECT on 1800 737 732.
R. Kelly’s upcoming tour of Australia appears to be doomed for failure, only hours after it was first alluded to.
Back in December, Aussie music lovers were undoubtedly shocked to learn that R. Kelly had supposedly announced a tour of the country.
Announced by Big Music Tour, these shows were set to kick off on Friday, February 8th, and would have been Kelly’s first shows in the country. However, R. Kelly soon disputed these dates, explaining that they were fake, but noted to the fact that something was on the horizon.
While a spokesperson for the promoter claimed they were confident the shows would go ahead, the tour was soon officially cancelled, and the whole thing was swept under the rug.
In the midst of all this though, the allegations of sex crimes against R. Kelly ramped up, thanks in part to the Lifetime documentary Surviving R. Kelly.
The documentary provided an in-depth look at the accusations made against the controversial artist, including such claims that he has had sex with underage girls, has physically abused numerous women, and even ran a “sex cult” from his Chicago home.
It also featured interviews with a number of people who had worked with R. Kelly, including Chance The Rapper, who explained that their 2015 collaboration was “a mistake”.
During the fallout from the documentary’s premiere, it was revealed that even though R. Kelly had received a 16% surge in listeners on Spotify, DJs in the US had come together to #MuteRKelly, as had the entire city of Philadelphia, while the artist’s record label also dropped him.
As it was becoming clear that R. Kelly was effectively #cancelled, the controversial rapper decided to have another crack, announcing upcoming tour dates in Australia, New Zealand, and Sri Lanka today.
While the very notion of an Aussie tour seems a bit optimistic on Kelly’s part, statements from Aussie politicians began to cast doubt on whether he would even be allowed in the country.
Check out R. Kelly’s since-deleted tour announcement:
As The Guardian reported, Shadow Minister for Immigration and Border Protection Shayne Neumann noted that, “Labor strongly supports the refusal or cancellation of visas of non-citizens on character or criminal grounds.”
“Labor would be seriously concerned if immigration minister David Coleman would allow an individual such as R Kelly into Australia,” he continued.
“If the immigration minister suspects that a non-citizen does not pass the character test, or there is a risk to the community while they are in Australia, he should use the powers he has under the Migration Act to deny or cancel their visa.”
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the Department of Home Affairs explained in general terms that, “All non-citizens entering Australia must meet, and continue to meet, the character requirements set out in the Migration Act 1958 (the Act).”
“There are strong provisions under the Act to refuse or cancel a visa where a person is found not to be of good character.”
While R. Kelly is facing backlash from not only Australian music fans but the Australian government, it also turns out that this might be the least of his problems.
Taking to Facebook earlier this evening, Aussie music journalist Mike Hohnen posted an extensive rundown of his research into the R. Kelly tour fiasco.
While Hohnen noted that the initial tour announced in 2018 seemed sketchy at first, attempts on his part to contact the venues listed on the announcement revealed that none had actually ever been confirmed to host the shows at all.
After discovering Big Music Tours was reportedly registered to a Western Sydney individual in his early 20s, the individual requested a large sum for a “tell all” interview, with all mention of the tour vanishing soon afterwards.
While Variety notes that this newly-announced R. Kelly tour is helmed by Flamingo Dreamz, it turns out that this agency used to go by the name of SinCity Group, who were responsible for Ja Rule’s failed tour in 2015.
According to Mike Hohnen, upon discovering the names of individuals behind SinCity Group (and presumably Flamingo Dreamz), these details were then relayed to R. Kelly’s booking agency, only hours before the initial tour announcement Tweet was abruptly deleted by R. Kelly.
At this stage, no further information has come forward about R. Kelly’s tour, including whether or not the yet-to-be-announced dates are still in fact yet-to-be-announced or not.
Whatever the case, it seems that any efforts for the controversial artist to tour the country will be something of an uphill battle.
Stay out of my country thank you
— Dolan Dark (@DolanDark) February 6, 2019