Streaming service has also removed XXXTentacion’s music from all its playlists and algorithmic recommendations, but both artists’ songs will remain on the platform, but the service will no longer promote them to its 70 million subscribers.
The move comes under the streaming service’s new public hate content and hateful conduct policy was implemented. Their music will disappear from any genre and mood-based playlists and will no longer be eligible for inclusion in popular playlists such as RapCaviar, Discover Weekly and New Music Friday.
Spotify told Billboard that it is removing R Kelly’s music from all Spotify-owned and -operated playlists and algorithmic recommendations.
READ MORE: R. Kelly is a danger to black womanhood
“His music will still be available on the service, but Spotify will not actively promote it. We don’t censor content because of an artist’s or creator’s behaviour, 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,” Spotify was quoted as saying.
The 51-year-old R&B star has long been embroiled in accusations of sexual criminality but has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.
CNN reports that Kelly’s management team maintains that he is innocent. “He is innocent of the false and hurtful accusations in the ongoing smear campaign against him, waged by enemies seeking a payoff. He has never been convicted of a crime, nor does he have any pending criminal charges against him,” the statement seen by CNN read.
R Kelly was indicted on child pornography charges of allegedly videotaping himself having sex with an unidentified underage girl in 2002. The case went to trial in 2008 and he was acquitted. Last year, the 24-year-old woman alleged she had a sexual relationship with Kelly when she was 16. However, he has denied the accusation and no criminal charges were filed.
In July last year, an explosive Buzzfeed article claimed the singer was holding a group of adult women against their will as part of what some of their parents said it was a ‘cult’. At the time he wouldn’t comment but his attorney dismissed allegations in an email to Buzzfeed.
READ MORE: R Kelly allegedly running an abusive ‘cult’
According to CNN, in response to Spotify’s decisions, Kelly’s manager issued a statement saying the entertainer supports the pro-women goals of the Time’s Up movement and calling the allegations against him an attempted public lynching of a black man who has made extraordinary contributions to our culture.
His management has condemned Spotify’s decision to downplay the singer’s music. “Spotify is adopting a new Hate Content & Hateful Conduct policy. R Kelly has never been accused of hate, and the lyrics he writes express love and desire,” it said.
Additional sources: CNN, Buzzfeed and Billboard