Protesters gathered in front of Sony Music’s headquarters in New York on Wednesday to demand that the label drop singer R. Kelly amid the many sexual misconduct allegations against him.
The Lifetime docu-series “Surviving R. Kelly” has renewed fervor for muting Kelly and finding justice for his alleged victims. The MuteRKelly hashtag has taken over social media, protests have been held outside his concerts, and streaming services and radio stations have pledged to no longer play his music.
Sony Music, through its label RCA Records, has Kelly among its artists. So organizers behind #MuteRKelly, Black Women’s Blueprint, Care2, Color of Change, Credo Action, Girls for Gender Equity, NOW-NYC and UltraViolet went to the company’s New York City offices to present it with a Record Label of Shame award and ask it to drop Kelly.
Additionally, the organizers delivered a petition signed by more than 217,394 people demanding RCA Records drop Kelly.
On the Facebook page for the protest, the organizers wrote that the docu-series was an “unignorable investigation into R. Kelly’s decades of alleged sexual abuse of young Black women and girls, and those in the music industry that have not only enabled him, but profited from him.”
“R. Kelly has been able to continue to prey on vulnerable Black girls for so long because companies like RCA - his record label - provide him a revenue stream to maintain his sex trafficking operation and a veneer of public credibility,” they wrote.
“With the seriousness of these numerous allegations and their overwhelming credibility, it’s past time for RCA and their parent company, Sony, to take a stand and drop R. Kelly from their record label. No company should be profiting from a man who physically, mentally, and sexually abuses Black girls.”
The “I Believe I Can Fly” singer has had numerous sexual abuse claims made against him spanning several decades, involving children, child pornography and an alleged sex cult. R. Kelly denies the allegations. With the docu-series putting pressure on law enforcement, there has been renewed interest in investigating.
A state attorney in Illinois called on any victims of or witnesses to abuse by Kelly to come forward to her or the police. She asked anyone with information to call the prosecutor’s office at 773-674-6492.