Spotify has yanked R. Kelly from its promoted playlists and recommendations for listeners, following more accusations of sexual misconduct against the 51-year-old R&B singer.
Listeners can still stream his music on their own volition, but the Swedish streaming giant will no longer spotlight his music after two more women accused him of predatory behavior in a BuzzFeed report published last week.
“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,” the company told TheWrap in a statement.
“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, it may affect the ways we work with or support that artist or creator.”
A rep for Kelly did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment. Kelly’s attorney, assistant, and public relations representative all ditched the singer last month, after a new documentary accused him of running a “sex dungeon” that exploited underage girls. In the aftermath, Kelly said he was a “God-fearing man” that was being unfairly skewered by the media, in an attempt to “destroy” his legacy.
Kelly was acquitted on child pornography charges in 2008, but sexual misconduct accusations have continued to surface. A BuzzFeed report last year painted Kelly as the leader of a “cult,” with the singer controlling every detail in the lives of several women living on his properties.
Pressure has been growing on Kelly in recent weeks, with the Time’s Up movement pushing a #MuteRKelly hashtag to “insist on safety and dignity for women of all kinds.”
Spotify’s decision comes as part of a larger policy reform targeting “hateful content” — or “content that expressly and principally promotes, advocates, or incites hatred or violence against a group or individual based on characteristics, including, race, religion, gender identity, sex, ethnicity, nationality, sexual orientation, veteran status, or disability,” according to Spotify. The company has enlisted several civil rights groups, including The Anti-Defamation League and GLAAD, to weed out unsavory content.