NEW YORK • R. Kelly's music will no longer be promoted by Spotify and has been removed from all its official playlists, the streaming service announced on Thursday, adding its voice to the growing chorus attempting to hold the singer responsible after decades of accusations of sexual misconduct.
"We don't censor content because of an artist's or creator's behaviour, but we want our editorial decisions - what we choose to programme - to reflect our values," it said in a statement. "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."
Last week, the Time's Up organisation, which formed around the #MeToo movement to support victims of sexual abuse, joined a #MuteRKelly campaign that has called on his record label and concert promoter, as well as local venues, radio stations and streaming services, to cease support of the R&B singer.
R. Kelly, who for years has faced lawsuits and news reports alleging sexual coercion and abuse of young girls and women, has denied the accusations. He is not facing any criminal charges and was acquitted in 2008 in a child pornography case. His management has called the recent Time's Up campaign an "attempted public lynching of a black man".
Spotify's announcement came as it debuted a new policy regarding "hate content and hateful conduct". A representative said chart-topping rapper XXXTentacion, who is facing charges in Florida that include aggravated battery of a pregnant woman and witness tampering, was also removed from playlists as of Thursday.