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Sony’s RCA severs ties with R. Kelly after uproar

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REUTERS

SONY CORP.’S RCA music label has scrubbed R. Kelly from its lineup after a documentary series renewed the furor surrounding allegations of criminal sexual misconduct.

As of Friday morning, R. Kelly was no longer featured on RCA’s Web site. Billboard reported that the artist and Sony had agreed to part ways in the wake of the Lifetime series Surviving R. Kelly, in which multiple women, including his ex-wife, made on-camera allegations of emotional, sexual and physical abuse.

Billboard said Mr. Kelly’s catalogue would remain with RCA. His music is still available on digital retailers and streaming services.

Representatives for Sony didn’t respond to requests for comment from Bloomberg, and R. Kelly couldn’t immediately be reached.




Once a best-selling artist, R. Kelly has been gradually isolated by the entertainment industry. Streaming services stopped promoting him last year, and artists such as Celine Dion and Lady Gaga have been removing songs where they collaborated with the singer.

Campaigners from the #MuteRKelly pressure group delivered a petition signed by some 217,000 people to Sony headquarters in New York City last week asking the record company to drop the musician.

Allegations have swirled around R. Kelly for much of his decades long career, though they seemed to have little effect on his commercial success until recent years. Multiple women have sued him for coercing them into having sex when they were under age. Parents of several other women have accused Kelly of holding their daughters against their will.

R. Kelly also attempted to marry the late R&B singer Aaliyah when she was 15 years old and he was 27.

In 2008, the singer was tried and acquitted on child pornography charges in Chicago.

Separately on Friday, a former manager for the singer turned himself into authorities in Georgia, where he was wanted on a charge of making threats against one of the families that took part in the Lifetime documentary.

The artist, whose real name is Robert Sylvester Kelly, won three Grammy Awards in 1998 for his song “I Believe I Can Fly” and has released a half-dozen albums that topped the US album charts. — Bloomberg/Reuters