Women’s rights group UltraViolet has announced plans to fly an airplane towing a banner protesting R. Kelly over Sony Music offices in Culver City, California, on Friday, calling on imprint RCA Records to drop the singer.
R. Kelly has faced widespread allegations of sexual abuse, most recently documented in the explosive Lifetime documentary series Surviving R. Kelly. Kelly has denied all accusations against him.
The banner is scheduled to fly over the major label’s Southern California headquarters at 11 a.m. local time, reading, “RCA/SONY: DROP SEXUAL PREDATOR R KELLY”
“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,” said Karin Roland, chief campaigns officer at UltraViolet, in a statement. “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.”
Last year, UltraViolet spoke up supporting Spotify’s decision to remove R. Kelly from its editorially curated playlists, pushing the company to go further with action against other artists accused of sexual misconduct. Spotify eventually reversed its decision to punish artists for such action. Other activist groups, including the #MuteRKelly campaign and Women of Color within the Time’s Up movement, have spoken out against Kelly and those doing business with him.
UltraViolet also reports tens of thousands of signees on its petition that RCA drop R. Kelly.
“When record labels like RCA Records and music platforms like Spotify promote abusers, they allow those abusers to reap in profits, lining their pockets with royalties and expanding their fan base,” added Roland. “This normalizes violence against women. We are deeply disappointed that in light of the comprehensive allegations of sexual abuse made public by the Surviving R. Kelly documentary, that RCA Records and Spotify continue to choose abusers over the survivors of their crimes.”