UltraViolet—a women’s rights advocacy group—has announced it has commissioned a plane to fly over the Sony Music offices in Culver City, California tomorrow, (Friday, January 11) to protest R. Kelly. According to a press release, the plane will feature a banner that reads “RCA/Sony: Drop Sexual Predator R. Kelly.” (RCA Records remains the label home of Kelly, who faces multiple allegations of abuse by numerous women. RCA is owned by Sony Music.)
Karin Roland, Chief Campaigns Officer at UltraViolet, shared the following statement:
It is long past time for RCA to dump R. Kelly and take a stand against abuse. Their inaction is beyond shameful. RCA can no longer pretend that R. Kelly's music can be separated from his violent actions. Kelly uses his fame, musical talent, fortune, and standing in the music industry to lure in and abuse young Black girls. Even some of his songs are literally inspired by the abuses he has perpetrated.
Kelly has been able to get away with his years of abuse precisely because his victims are young Black girls who face even more barriers to justice than their white peers. Sixty percent of Black women are sexually abused by age 18, but their abuse is written off because of harmful racial stereotypes that paint Black women and girls as more sexually promiscuous and aggressive than young white girls. We must believe and support Black survivors of sexual violence. It is time all of us work alongside the amazing Black women organizers calling out R. Kelly and his enablers to ensure justice.
In August 2018, it was reported that conversations between advocacy groups and RCA Records regarding R. Kelly had stalled. When reached by Pitchfork, a representative for Sony Music declined to comment and referred inquiries to its subsidiary, RCA. RCA has not responded to repeated requests for comment on Kelly.
Earlier today, two musical acts that had previously collaborated with Kelly—Lady Gaga and Phoenix—both issued statements expressing regret for working with the singer. Gaga apologized and stated she will take down her single with Kelly, “Do What U Want,” from streaming services. Phoenix wrote, “We fully support all victims of sexual abuse, and it's our hope that there will be a path to justice.”