The Women of Color (WOC) branch of the Time’s Up movement announced on Monday (April 30) that its group is joining forces with the existing online campaign #MuteRKelly in shaming R. Kelly over many allegations of sexual misconduct. ?Now the singer’s management has refuted the action, claiming that Kelly is being unfairly targeted.
“Kelly supports the pro-women goals of the Time’s Up movement. We understand criticizing a famous artist is a good way to draw attention to those goals—and in this case, it is unjust and off-target,” reads the statement obtained by Variety on Monday.
“We fully support the rights of women to be empowered to make their own choices. Time’s Up has neglected to speak with any of the women who welcome R. Kelly’s support, and it has rushed to judgment without the facts. Soon it will become clear Mr. Kelly is the target of a greedy, conscious and malicious conspiracy to demean him, his family and the women with whom he spends his time. Kelly’s music is a part of American and African-American culture that should never—and will never—be silenced. 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.”
R. Kelly has been in the spotlight for years due to an ongoing saga of sexual misconduct allegations, some of which include underage women. Last year, he was accused of running a “sex cult” and holding women imprisoned in his Chicago and Atlanta homes. Since then, more women and families have spoke out against the singer in the press and in documentaries and earlier this month it was reported he was under investigation for allegedly infecting a woman with a sexually transmitted disease.
In their original statement announcing the boycott, WOC wrote, “For too long, our community has ignored our pain. The pain we bear is a burden that too many women of color have had to bear for centuries. The wounds run deep.”
The group will also be targeting R. Kelly’s label RCA Records, Spotify and Apple Music for distributing and monetizing his music, as well as Ticketmaster and Greensboro Coliseum Complex for hosting and selling tickets to his upcoming May 11 concert.
Billboard has reached out to R. Kelly’s reps for comment.