Amid the campaign to #MuteRKelly, Spotify made a bold move by announcing that it is no longer promoting the controversial singer’s music. However, R. Kelly’s songs will remain on the streaming site, leading some to say that the company could have been even bolder in its decision.
Spotify announced a new “hate content and hateful conduct policy” on Thursday. It stipulates, “We don’t censor content because of an artist’s or creator’s behavior, but we want our editorial decisions — what we choose to program — to reflect our values. When an artist or creator does something that is especially harmful or hateful (for example, violence against children and sexual violence), it may affect the ways we work with or support that artist or creator.”
The company then said in a statement to Billboard that, as a result of the new policy, “We are removing R. Kelly’s music from all Spotify owned and operated playlists and algorithmic recommendations such as Discover Weekly. His music will still be available on the service, but Spotify will not actively promote it.”
So far, Kelly is the only artist that Spotify has publicly said is being affected by this new policy.
While there have certainly been many people applauding the move, there have also been voices asking: Is this enough? As accusations against Kelly continue to grow — two more women came forward late last week alleging sexual abuse, followed by Tuesday’s Megyn Kelly Today featuring more of his alleged victims — is simply not promoting his music, but continuing to have it available and profit from it, enough?
Spotify didn't do anything worth praising. When ties are cut 100% and R. Kelly's music is pulled, that will be worth talking about.
— Jerhonda Pace (@JerhondaPace) May 10, 2018
If @Spotify wants to make a statement, they should just remove all of R Kelly's music, not just take him off playlists.
— eddie. (@EddieBermuda) May 10, 2018
But they'll still profit from streaming it. Brilliant
— Daniel Ostanek (@LVCKV) May 10, 2018
so they are taking his posters off of the window of the shop but still selling his stuff in the back of the store? way to make a real stand spotify.
— Nintendo Labo Laws (@woolydub) May 10, 2018
How about just removing it entirely?
— Thechemace (@thechemace) May 10, 2018
It's still there so why are you lying. I'd rather they removed it completely instead of just not promoting
— Vasso (@Vasso1313) May 10, 2018
This is silly. They’re removing him from playlists, not from Spotify itself. So this changes nothing. Where does Spotify draw the line? Look up all the horrible things James Brown did to his family, will there ever be a removal The Payback for it?
— Rudy Acosta (@rudy_acosta13) May 10, 2018
So they’ll still allow him to make money off their services, pretty bold.
— brandon. (@brandonspears) May 10, 2018
The playlist department of Spotify is so brave. I hope the Campbell’s Soup corporation follows suit and remove the letter “R” from their Alphabet Soup.
— Chris Gilmartin (@chrisgilmartin) May 10, 2018
And if the promotion of Kelly’s music is ending because of alleged misconduct, what about Michael Jackson’s? Or the music of Chris Brown, who actually has a felony conviction after assaulting Rihanna? What about Tommy Lee, who went to jail for assaulting Pamela Anderson? The list goes on.
if @Spotify can remove R Kelly songs they should just go ahead and remove chris brown songs too…
— Burt Macklin, FBI (@hearts_sopure08) May 10, 2018
So is @Spotify also removing Michael Jackson from their playlists?? He was an alleged child molester for half of his life, made settlements, however was never convicted. Identical to R Kelly so..
— Shoboat (@Shobeezy) May 10, 2018
@Spotify Take all of Motley crue music down! Tommy Lee repeatedly beat Pamela Anderson down
— Obi-Wan Kenobi (@Emass718) May 10, 2018
Since the 1990s, we’ve been hearing about Kelly, now 51, allegedly having sexual relationships with minors, including his marriage to 15-year-old pop star Aaliyah, which was annulled. He has faced multiple lawsuits for inappropriate sexual relationships with underage women. He was once charged with creating child pornography, but was found not guilty because his partner couldn’t be seen in the sex tape after the alleged victim denied she was in it. Last summer, it all blew up again amid reports that he’s running a “sex cult.” This year, a shocking hour-long documentary called R Kelly: Sex, Girls, & Videotapes was released. Just days ago, Lifetime greenlighted a new documentary series and feature-length movie that aim to tell the stories of women who have fallen under his “toxic spell.”
A “Mute R. Kelly” campaign was started last year, and got a boost this year when it was backed by #TimesUp following Bill Cosby’s conviction. The campaign, started in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal, demanded an investigation into Kelly’s behavior — and boycotts of his music. A lengthy statement released by his rep said the performer is “the target of a greedy, conscious and malicious conspiracy.”
“We understand criticizing a famous artist is a good way to draw attention to [#TimesUp’s] goals — and in this case, it is unjust and off-target,” the statement continued. “Since America was born, black men and women have been lynched for having sex or for being accused of it. We will vigorously resist this attempted public lynching of a black man who has made extraordinary contributions to our culture.”
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