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.
As increasing numbers of survivors have stepped forward to detail recounts of alleged abused over the last 25 years, radio hosts and DJs in the US are collectively taking part in the #MuteRKelly movement.
Jerold Jackson, Cumulus Media Program Director / Managing Director, removed a plaque given to him by R. Kelly himself at a National Black Programmers Coalition. He’s also removed Kelly’s music from playlists at KRRQ 95.5 and KNEK 104.3.
“Do we care about women? Do we care about our audience? That’s where I am as a program director,” he told Buzzfeed News.
Just one week after the Lifetime channel aired its explosive six-part Surviving R. Kelly docu-series, official investigations were reportedly launched into the disgraced R&B singer and his closest allies.
R. Kelly’s music has also been axed from playlists by New York-based DJ Olivia Dope; Skip Dillard, an operations manager at WBLS and WLIB in New York; the Tom Joyner Morning Show (which attracts 8 million listeners a week); and Chicago’s 95.1.
BuzzFeed News ran the numbers on R. Kelly’s dwindling popularity for his most-played hit ‘Ignition (Remix)’, which has earned him Platinum certifications in Australia and New Zealand, and sat at #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 for five consecutive weeks in 2002.
Using the tracking service Warm, which monitors 26,000 radio stations in 130 countries, Buzzfeed found that in the first two weeks of January, ‘Ignition (Remix)’ was played in the US around 35 times a day at the start of the month. That slipped down to less than 10 plays per day after the documentary aired.
The music community is distancing itself from R. Kelly in droves, Lady Gaga, Chance the Rapper and Celine Dion have all removed their respective collaborations with the former star from digital music services.
The damning evidence from the past 25 years shows the 51-year-old artist is responsible for multiple statutory rape and abuse allegations. Including:
- Married 15-year-old Aaliyah in 1994 using a false birth certificate that claimed she was 18.
- Had an alleged sexual relationship with a 15-year-old Tiffany Hawkins in 1991 when he was 24.
- Featured in a videotape sent anonymously to the Chicago Sun-Times in 2001. The editors believed it to be evidence of possible child pornography.
- In the infamous “pee tape” of 2002 Kelly engaged in sex acts with and urinating on a 14-year-old girl. Later that year Kelly was indicted on 21 counts of making child pornography.
- Was accused of running a “sex cult” at his home in Chicago. In 2017 BuzzFeed published its “sex cult” story where a former personal assistant to Kelly said he only permits the women to wear jogging suits so that other men can’t see the outlines of their bodies.