Just weeks after a Texas woman accused R&B singer R. Kelly of “knowingly and intentionally” infecting her with a sexually-transmitted disease, and after decades of allegations of sexual abuse, women of color in the Hollywood anti-sexual harassment initiative Time’s Up have called for a boycott of the singer and his music.
Time’s Up posted a statement on its social media channels, which said “as women of color within Time’s Up, we recognize that we have a responsibility to help right this wrong. We intend to shine a bright light on our WOC sisters in need. It is our hope that we will never feel ignored or silenced ever again.”
The statement then listed the reasons for the boycott, stating that R. Kelly…
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
The statement called for people to “join an existing online campaign called #MuteRKelly” and called out RCA Records (R. Kelly’s current music label); Greensboro Coliseum Complex (for currently planning to hold an R. Kelly concert May 11); Ticketmaster (for currently issuing tickets to the May 11 show); and Spotify and Apple Music (for currently monetizing R. Kelly’s music).
We join the call to #MuteRKelly and insist on the safety + dignity of all women. We demand investigations into R. Kelly’s abuse allegations made by women of color + their families for two decades. We call on those who profit from his music to cut ties. #MuteRKelly #TIMESUP #WOC pic.twitter.com/TYmDRVIH00
— Ava DuVernay (@ava) April 30, 2018
— Lupita Nyong'o (@Lupita_Nyongo) April 30, 2018
R. Kelly, 51, released the following statement to BuzzFeed, calling the campaign “unjust and off-target” and stating that the singer was the “target of a greedy, conscious and malicious conspiracy to demean him.”
R. Kelly's team responds to #MuteRKelly: "R. 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 … we will vigorously resist this attempted public lynching of a black man" pic.twitter.com/ByC9SR0vtD
— BuzzFeed News (@BuzzFeedNews) April 30, 2018
R. Kelly, whose full name is Robert Sylvester Kelly, was recently dropped from the May 5 Love Jam concert in Chicago, while multiple outlets reported two weeks ago that R. Kelly’s lawyer, assistant, and publicist had quit.
Last month, Time’s Up earned a major victory when it convinced New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to investigate the New York District Attorney’s decision not to charge Harvey Weinstein in 2015.
The views expressed here are those of the author and do not represent those of any other individual or entity. Follow Sarah on Twitter: @sarahmquinlan.