It’s been a mere two week’s since Lifetime’s Surviving R. Kelly docuseries concluded, with many artists such as Lady Gaga coming out against their collaborations with the former R&B star in the recent weeks as a result of its popularity. It appears as Sony Music has been the next major industry figurehead on the list, as it has officially cut ties with Kelly in light of this documentary.
As the story is still developing there are still more details that need to be unearthed about this situation. According to press representatives from Sony Music and Kelly, both parties have agreed to part ways. Kelly’s music and catalog will remain at RCA and on streaming services however.
Sexual misconduct allegations against R. Kelly have existed for long over a decade, with many going back to the mid 1990’s when documents showing that Kelly, then 27, married a then 15-year old Aliyah were leaked to the press. This marriage was eventually annulled after a few months.
During the early 2000s a pornographic tape emerged, which allegedly featured Kelly performing sex acts on a 14 year old minor. As a result of this, and a later police raid in Florida, Kelly was eventually charged with 21 counts of child pornography. Kelly was eventually cleared from the Florida case in 2004 however, as the judge determined that the confiscation of the evidence at Kelly’s Florida home was unconstitutional, due to errors made during the execution of the search warrant.
As a result of numerous judicial issues, Kelly was able to delay the trial until 2008, a bit over six years since the original sex tape allegations came to light.While the alleged victim’s aunt, who is former Kelly collaborator and early 2000s R&B singer Sparkle stated that it was indeed Kelly and her then under-aged niece on the sex tape, the victim did not testify against Kelly in court. Kelly was originally declared not guilty as a result in 2008.
Allegations of an abusive sex cult led R. Kelly gained prominence once against in 2010, however the original allegations go back even further, beginning with the work of Jim DeRogatis back in 2000. DeRogatis has followed the numerous stories regarding Kelly’s misconduct for two decades, for a variety of publications including the Chicago Tribune and Buzzfeed News.
“The thing that makes me sick to my stomach is it’s impossible, in Chicago, to walk three or four blocks in the music communities of the South and West Side and not find ten people who have stories about R. Kelly, or their cousin has a story about him, or their sister,” DeRogatis stated in an interview for Vox. “Why on earth isn’t there more reporting forwarding the story?”
Surviving R.Kelly premiered on Lifetime on Jan. 3, with the last episode airing on Jan. 5. This series documented the allegations against Kelly and featured numerous interviews from victims and people in Kelly’s inner circle. Since the release of this series the singer has also faced a criminal investigation in Florida.
“Young women are allegedly in peril, being mistreated, physically and mentally abused, today, at a recording studio half a block away from Union Park in Chicago, where Kelly was hired by Pitchfork to headline their music festival in 2013,” DeRogatis further explained in the interview.