Time's Up Calls Out Apple, Spotify In Boycott Against R. Kelly

Photo: Prince Williams/WireImage.
Time's Up is looking to #MuteRKelly once and for all. The movement started by Hollywood actresses and activists to tackle sexual misconduct is calling out Apple and Spotify for their support of R. Kelly, for whom there is a long list of sexual assault allegations included the newly-released details over the alleged sexual abuse of a teen in the BBC3 documentary R. Kelly: Sex, Girls, and Videotapes.
In a statement posted on The Root, the leaders of Time's Up call for a boycott of Kelly. "To Our Fellow Women of Colour," the letter begins, "We see you. We hear you. Because we are you." Following the guilty verdict in the Bill Cosby case, Time's Up decided it was time to speak out for those women of colour who have come forward with their allegations against Kelly. This includes Kelly's ex-girlfriend Kitti Jones, who detailed years of alleged abuse to Rolling Stone back in October.
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"As women of colour within Time’s Up, we recognise that we have a responsibility to help right this wrong. We intend to shine a bright light on our WOC sisters in need," the WOC members of Time's Up, which include Ava DuVernay, Shonda Rhimes, and Kerry Washington, stated. "It is our hope that we will never feel ignored or silenced ever again."
They are doing this by joining the "existing online campaign called #MuteRKelly," which has started a petition asking Live Nation to cancel Kelly's upcoming tour dates and Sony to drop him from the label. At the time of publication, the petition was less than five thousand signatures away from its goal of 70,000.
Time's Up is also asking the public to "call on the following corporations and venues with ties to R. Kelly to join us and insist on safety and dignity for women of all kinds," including RCA Records, Ticketmaster, Spotify, Apple, and Greensboro Coliseum Complex, the North Carolina venue where he is scheduled to play on May 11.
The group ended their statement by saying they "are not interested in persecuting anyone without just cause." And are demanding "appropriate investigations and inquiries into the allegations of R. Kelly’s abuse made by women of colour and their families for over two decades now." Last summer, Buzzfeed reported that a group of parents were accusing the singer was keeping their daughters hostage in an abusive sex cult. (Following the story, Kelly's attorney denied the allegations in a statement to the Los Angeles Times.)
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"We declare with great vigilance and a united voice to anyone who wants to silence us: Their time is up," the closing line of the Time's Up statement reads. "Together, We Are Strong."
In the last few months, the call to mute Kelly has become louder. Recently, rapper Vince Staples called out Kelly in an interview at Coachella, while Jack Antonoff tweeted last month that he asked his label to drop the singer. Following Time's Up's statement, John Legend tweeted his support: "I stand with the women of #timesup."
Update: Hours after Time's Up revealed their mission to #MuteRKelly, the performer's team has released a statement denying all claims against their client. In a statement to Buzzfeed, Kelly's team allege that he "supports the pro-women goals of the Time’s Up movement," and since he is a "famous" celebrity, he is unfairly being used to draw attention to the Time's Up movement. The statement also maintains that 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." They added: "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."
If you have experienced sexual violence of any kind, please visit Rape Crisis or call 0808 802 9999.
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