R Kelly Says Time’s Up Boycott Is an ‘Attempted Public Lynching of a Black Man’

“We understand criticizing a famous artist is a good way to draw attention to [their] goals,” singer’s team says in a statement

R&B singer and accused sexual predator R. Kelly has issued a bold response to the growing boycott campaign against him, slamming the latest statement from the Time’s Up movement as an “attempted public lynching.”

“R. Kelly supports the pro-women goals of the Time’s Up movement,” a spokesperson for the singer said in a statement to TheWrap. “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.”

The statement comes after the organization’s Women of Color committee announced Monday morning that they would throw their weight behind the #MuteRKelly campaign, demanding “appropriate investigations and inquiries into the allegations of R. Kelly’s abuse.”

They also called on Kelly’s label RCA Records, as well Spotify, Apple Music, Ticketmaster and Greensboro Coliseum Complex, to cut ties with the R&B singer.

Last year, Kelly was the subject of an investigative report published by BuzzFeed alleging that he was holding his teenage girlfriends against their will in a sex “cult.” His ex-girlfriend Kitti Jones later spoke out in a BBC documentary, saying that she was held in a “sex dungeon” while she was dating the singer and was forced to have sex with Kelly and others on “more than 10” occasions.

Kelly has denied the accusations against him, and Monday’s statement says Time’s Up has “rushed to judgement 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,” the statement read.

“R. 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.”

Read the full statement below:

R. 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.

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.

R. 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.”

–Thanks for listening. R. Kelly management