YouTube drops singer R. Kelly's official channels after sex-trafficking conviction
Kelly will no longer be able to create or own any other YouTube channel, social media platform says
YouTube has removed R. Kelly's channels from its video platform, distancing itself from the singer who was convicted of sex trafficking last month.
A federal jury found Kelly guilty of racketeering and eight counts of sex trafficking after a trial in which prosecutors accused the singer of exploiting his stardom over a quarter-century to lure women and underage girls into his orbit for sex.
Two of his channels, RKellyTV and RKellyVevo, have been removed from one of the world's largest video platforms and the singer will no longer be able to create or own any other YouTube channel, YouTube said in a statement late Monday, following a request for comment.
The catalog of his music will however be available on YouTube Music, YouTube's audio-streaming service, and the videos uploaded by other YouTube users will continue to be available.
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"We can confirm that we have terminated two channels linked to R. Kelly in accordance with our creator responsibility guidelines," a YouTube spokesperson told Reuters in a statement.
The MuteRKelly campaign, founded by two women in 2017 to try to remove the singer's music from the airwaves, said on Twitter, "Waiting on you @youtubemusic, and you too @Spotify @AppleMusic @AmazonMusic, etc."
Waiting on you <a href="https://twitter.com/youtubemusic?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@youtubemusic</a>, and you too <a href="https://twitter.com/Spotify?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Spotify</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/AppleMusic?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@AppleMusic</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/amazonmusic?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@AmazonMusic</a>, etc.<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/MuteRKelly?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#MuteRKelly</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/RKellyGuilty?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#RKellyGuilty</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/RKelly?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#RKelly</a> <a href="https://t.co/VECbaCktQa">https://t.co/VECbaCktQa</a>—@OffMuteRKelly
Contacted outside of regular U.S. business hours, Spotify, Apple and Amazon did not immediately respond to requests from Reuters seeking comment on whether they would be taking similar action over R Kelly's music available on their platforms.
Kelly's music has largely disappeared from radio but is still available on streaming platforms. His hit record I Believe I Can Fly was for years a popular choice at graduation ceremonies.
Kelly faces a mandatory minimum of 10 years behind bars, and could face up to life in prison at his sentencing on May 4, 2022.
The singer, whose full name is Robert Sylvester Kelly, is one of the most prominent people tried on sex charges during the #MeToo movement, which amplified accusations that had followed him since the early 2000s.