Since the first airing of the Surviving R. Kelly documentary series, people are scrambling to distance themselves from the controversial singer. In just the past few days, for example, past collaborators like Lady Gaga, Phoenix, and Nick Cannon have apologized for working with Kelly. Today, people near Sony’s offices Culver City, California who found their gaze directed skyward noticed a plane pulling a banner that read, “RCA/Sony: Drop Sexual Predator R. Kelly.”
RCA Records, which is owned by Sony Music, is still Kelly’s label as of now in spite of the animosity surrounding the singer. The plane was commissioned by women’s rights advocacy group UltraViolet, and chief campaigns officer Karin Roland said in a statement that RCA’s “inaction is beyond shameful,” and that the label “can no longer pretend that R. Kelly’s music can be separated from his violent actions.”
This is not the first time RCA and Sony have come under fire for still working with Kelly. A petition imploring RCA to drop Kelly circulated in 2017 and currently has over 100,000 signatures, and about a year ago. Jack Antonoff, who is also signed to RCA, wrote last year in a now-deleted tweet, “I hope my label drops R. Kelly. I’ve discussed it with them a number of times.”
Read Roland’s full statement below.
“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.”