#MuteRKelly

#MuteRKelly

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Updated Feb 15, 2019 at 04:27PM EST by Sophie.

Added May 01, 2018 at 01:24PM EDT by Matt.

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About

#MuteRKelly is a social media hashtag and campaign to bring attention to the numerous sexual misconduct allegations against recording artist, songwriter and producer R. Kelly and boycott his music.

Origins

In July 2017, a campaign by Atlanta Arts Administrator Oronike Odeleye to remove the music of R. Kelly from radio airwaves in the Atlanta, Georgia area began.[1]

The earliest known usage of the hashtag "#MuteRKelly was posted on July 17th, 2017, Professor Stephanie Y. Evans tweeted,[2] "I am a survivor. Believe survivors. Amplify survivors voices. Listen to survivors. HEAR SURVIVORS. #MUTErkelly" (shown below) Two weeks later, one of the founders of the campaign Kenyette Tish responded the to the tweet[3] and called it the "muse for the hashtag" (tweets below)


Stephanie Y. Evans @Prof_Evans 17 Jul 2017 I am a survivor. Believe survivors. Amplify survivors voices. Listen to survivors. HEAR SURVIVORS. #MUTErkelly amazon.com/Purple-Sparks- 2 KENYETTE TISH! @LegisEmpress Replying to @Prof Evans Love and appreciate you sis.... You were the muse for this hastag #MuteRKelly

Spread

On July 20th, Kenyette Tish posted an article on the blogging website Medium[5] entitled "#MuteRKelly: Why I’m Protesting the Atlanta R Kelly Concert." In the article, she repeats allegations of sexual misconduct that had been lodged at Kelly at the time, particularly a report published by BuzzFeed [4] on July 17th, 2017. She wrote:

He’s also been recently named as a leader in an Atlanta-area “sexual cult” involving several young women (many who are speculated to have been there since they are teens), where these captive young women’s eating, bathing, toileting, and sexual activities are monitored. Is that enough?

But let me finish.

Atlanta is the HUB OF UNDERAGE SEX TRAFFICKING IN THE UNITED STATES! Yes, those United States. And it is no secret that “The ATL” is historically known for its salacious adult entertainment scene. That’s cool. Ain’t nothing wrong with ADULTS, ENJOYING ADULT ENTERTAINMENT.

However, what is NOT COOL is the seedy undercurrent of girls as young as 13 years old, who’ve been kidnapped, pimped out and trafficked by adult men. Men who like young girls.

Men like R. Kelly.

The following year, on April 30th, 2018, the Time's Up movement published a letter on Instagram [6] calling for a boycott of Kelly's music under the hashtag. In the letter addressed to "Our Fellow Women of Color," the organization wrote, "The scars of history make certain that we are not interested in persecuting anyone without just cause. With that said, we demand appropriate investigations and inquiries into the allegations of R. Kelly’s abuse made by women of color and their families for over two decades now." The post (shown below) received more than 17,800 likes in 24 hours.


To Our Fellow WOMEN OF COLOR WE SEE YOU. WE HEARYOU. BECAUSE WE ARE YOU. Fer too long, our community has ignored our pain The psin vre bear is a burden that too many women of color have had to bear for centuries The wounds run deeo As we.an.f Celer wlAia TIME'S UP (WOC), we recognize that we have 8 responsibilty to help right this wrong we intend to shine a bright light on our wce sistersin need It our hope that we will never feel ignored or silenced ever again Together, we 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: The recent court decision against Bill Cosby is one step towards addressing these ils but it is just a start. We call on people everywhere to join with us to insist on a world in which women of all kinds can pursue their dreams free from sexual assault, abuse and predatory behavior. To this end today we join an existing online campaign called A RECORDS The venerable music label currently produces and distribues R Kelly's music R. KELL Over the past 25 years, the men known publicly as hes sold 60 million elbums, toured the globe repeatedly, and accumulated hundreds of milions ol plays on radio and streaming services ICKETMAST The popular dckeing system is aurrently issing tickets for R Kelly's show on May 11th URING HI Narried a girl undet 18 years of age . Was sued by at least 4 women for sexual masconduat statutory r---, aggravated assault unlawful restraint, and lurnishing ilegal drugs to a minor Was indicted on 21 counts of child p---------- Has faced dlegations of sexual abuse and imprisonment of women under hreats of vielence and tamillal harm The popular platorm is currently monetzing R. Kelly's music ISEUM COMPLEX The venue is currently hosting an R. Kelly concert on May 11th And we declare with great wgilance The scars of history make certain that we arenot interested in persecuting anyone without just cause. With that said, s and inquiries into d united voice to TIMES demand oppropriate investigabon the allegations ot R Kelly's abuse made by women of color and their families for over two decades now anyone who wants to silence us, their time is up. Tegrther, We Are Strees WoC I TIME'S UP

Following the post from Time's Up, various celebrities voiced their support of the movement. Director Ava Duverney tweeted,[7] "We join the call to #MuteRKelly and insist on the safety + dignity of all women. We demand investigations into R. Kelly’s abuse allegations made by women of color + their families for two decades. We call on those who profit from his music to cut ties. #MuteRKelly #TIMESUP #WOC…" The post (shown below, left) received more than 8,600 retweets and 18,900 likes in 24 hours.

Recording artist John Legend tweeted,[8] "I stand with the women of #timesup #muterkelly." The post (shown below, center) received more than 5,700 retweets and 31,000 likes in 24 hours.

Actor Lupita Nyong'o tweeted,[9] "We demand appropriate investigations and inquiries into the allegations of R. Kelly’s abuse. #MuteRKelly #TIMESUP." The post (shown below, right) received more than 2,000 retweets and 7,000 likes in 24 hours.


Ava DuVernay @ava We join the call to #MuteRKelly and insist on the safety +dignity of all women. We demand investigations into R. Kelly's abuse allegations made by women of color their families for two decades. We call on those who profit from his music to cut ties. #MuteRKelly #TIMESUPCI #woc To Our Fellow WOMEN OF COLOR Together, we call on corporations and venues with ties to R. Kelly to join us andǐINETO safety and gnity for women of all kinds. TIME'S John Legend @johnlegend I stand with the women of #timesupn #muterkelly TIME'S UP@TIMESUPNOW Today we join the call to #MuteRKelly #TIM ESUPCa Read the full open letter at theroot.com and... instagram.com/p/BiMbtHLI-Rn/ Lupita Nyong'o @Lupita Nyongo We demand appropriate investigations and inquiries into the allegations of R. Kelly's abuse. #MuteRKelly #TIMESUPn To Our Fellow WOMEN OF COLOR The scars of history make certain that we are not interested in persecuting anyone without just cause. With that said, we demand appropriate investigations and inquiries into the allegations of R. Kelly's abuse made by women of color and their families for over two decades now. And we declare with gr vigilance and a united voice to anyone who wants to silence us THEIR TIME IS UP TIME'S

A spokesperson for R. Kelly responded to the campaign on behalf of Kelly. They wrote:[10]

"Kelly supports the pro-women goals of the Time’s Up movement. We understand criticizing a famous artist is a good way to draw attention to those goals--and in this case, it is unjust and off-target.

“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. Soon it will become clear Mr. 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.

“Kelly’s music is a part of American and African-American culture that should never--and will never--be silenced. Since America was born, black men and women have been lynched for having sex or for being accused of it. We will vigorously resist this attempted public lynching of a black man who has made extraordinary contributions to our culture.

"–Thanks for listening. R. Kelly management."

Several media outlets covered the protest, including The New York Times,[11] The Root,[12] The Independent,[13] Uproxx,[14] NBC[15] and more.

On May 1st, Twitter[16] published a Moments page about the movement.

Spotify Removal

On May 10th, 2018, the music streaming service Spotify removed R. Kelly's music from any editorial or algorithmic Spotify-curated playlists, such as Music Friday, RapCaviar, Discover Weekly and other Spotify-created playlists. Under the terms of the company's public hate content and hateful conduct policy, they will no longer promote Kelly's music. However, Kelly's music will still be available on the Spotify; the company just will not be promoting it.

In a statement to Billboard,[17] the company said:

"We are removing R. Kelly’s music from all Spotify owned and operated playlists and algorithmic recommendations such as Discover Weekly. 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 behavior, 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."

That day, Tarana Burke, founder of the #MeToo movement, tweeted[18] her support of the decision. She wrote, "Yes!! It. Is. Not. A. Drill. #MuteRKelly." The post (shown below) receved more than 350 retweets and 1,900 likes in 24 hours.


TaranaC TaranaBurke Yes!! It. Is. Not. A. Drill #MuteRKelly Dan Rys@danrys Spotify Removes R. Kelly Music From Its Playlists As Part of New Hate Content & Hateful Conduct Policy: Exclusive bit.ly/2lbjZ9K

Additionally, Redditor [19] bjorktothefuture posted news of the announcement in the /r/Music subreddit. The post received more than 33,000 points (89% upvoted) and 4,500 comments in 24 hours.

Sexual Assault Caught On Tape

On February 14th, 2019, The New Yorker reported on the move to indict R. Kelly in Illinois after officials received a video of Kelly sexually assaulting an underage girl.[23] Attorney Michael Avenatti,[22] former attorney for Stormy Daniels , took to Twitter on January 31st, stating, "Since April, I have been working on the R. Kelly matter. The results of that work will soon be known. We are going to blow this wide open for the sake of each of his victims and one less pedophile will be free. Count on it. #Justice" (shown below). The tweet gained 1,650 retweets and 12,542 likes in a few weeks.


Michael Avenatti @MichaelAvenatti Since April, I have been working on the R. Kelly matter. The results of that work will soon be known. We are going to blow this wide open for the sake of each of his victims and one less p-------- will be free. Count on it. #Justice 6:18 PM-31 Jan 2019

On February 14th, @MichaelAvenatti [20] posted another tweet with a statement attached stating, "In response to press inquiries, attached is a stmt regarding our work on the R. Kelly matter since April, including the discovery of new critical video evidence establishing his guilt. We will continue to work tirelessly to ensure that this predator is brought to justice" (shown below). The tweet gained 1,406 retweets and 3,746 likes that day. The statement addresses the recent tape and other evidence briefly along with outlining the "painstaking" work that's been done on the case since April 2018.


Michael Avenatti @MichaelAvenatti In response to press inquiries, attached is a stmt regarding our work on the R. Kelly matter since April, including the discovery of new critical video evidence establishing his guilt. We will continue to work tirelessly to ensure that this predator is brought to justice. Statement of Michael Avenatti Regarding Robert Kelly Investigation And Newly Uncovered Video Evidence Approximately ten months ago, in April 2018, my office was retained by multiple clients in connection with allegations of sexual assault of minors by musical artist Robert Kelly (R. Kelly). Following our retention, we proceeded to thoroughly and quietly investigate the allegations through witness interviews and the examination of documents/evidence throughout the United States. Due to the importance of ensuring justice is finally done in this matter and because we are deeply concerned that Mr. Kelly has not been held accountable for his sexual abuse of young African-American girls, whom are especially vulnerable, we have done so on a pro bono basis. Importantly, it has now resulted in the discovery of significant new evidence conclusively establishing Mr. Kelly's illegal sexual assault of young girls. Included in the evidence we recently uncovered and recovered is a VHS videotape of Mr. Kelly engaging in multiple sexual assaults of a girl underage. This tape, which is clear, is approximately 45 minutes in length and has never previously been publicly disclosed or, until recently, provided to law enforcement. Importantly, this conclusive video evidence is not the same evidence previously seen and used in connection with the prior criminal matter in which Mr. Kelly was charged nor does it depict the same instances of sexual assault. Further, the time frame of the sexual assaults depicted in the video is within the Illinois statute of limitations. As part of our effort to ensure that Mr. Kelly is finally held accountable for his repeated sexual assaults of minors spanning over two decades, we have provided extensive information, including the videotape described above and witnesses, to Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx in Chicago. Ms. Foxx is an exceptional, dedicated prosecutor and she has personally committed to investigating the matter fully. We have full confidence in her abilities as well as those of her office. We expect to continue to cooperate with her and her colleagues as our investigation continues. Our work has been painstaking, detailed, expensive, and time consuming. Mr. Kelly is a predator and a criminal who has prayed on young, vulnerable girls for far too long. The time has come for him to finally be held accountable for his actions. 4:48 AM-14 Feb 2019

That same afternoon, Avenatti[21] released another statement to Twitter. It reads, "Below please find a second stmt relating to our investigation of R. Kelly. As a father of two teenage girls myself, I have the utmost faith and confidence in Ms. Foxx and her staff to ensure justice is done" (shown below). The tweet was retweeted 487 times and like 1,400 times that day. The statement describes the recently submitted tape in more detail.


Michael Avenatti @MichaelAvenatti Below please find a second stmt relating to our investigation of R. Kelly. As a father of two teenage girls myself, I have the utmost faith and confidence in Ms. Foxx and her staff to ensure justice is done. Second Statement of Michael Avenatti Regarding Robert Kelly Investigation And Newly Uncovered Video Evidence In response to press inquiries, we can confirm the following regarding the VHS tape we uncovered and provided to law enforcement: The VHS videotape of Mr. Kelly depicts him engaging in multiple sexual assaults of a girl fourteen years of age. On this tape, Mr. Kelly engages in oral, a--- and vaginal sex with the young girl in two separate rooms in his home on two separate days. Mr. Kelly and the young victim are both clearly visible throughout the tape as is an identifying mole on the mid to low back of Mr. Kelly on his left side. Mr. Kelly and the victim can both be heard throughout the tape, with Mr.Kelly repeatedly directing the young girl to perform various sexual acts. In addition, Mr. Kelly takes great pains to adjust the camera on many occasions in order to ensure that various acts are recorded with specificity and at a limited distance. Critically, Mr. Kelly and the victim also verbally refer to the girl as only being 14 on multiple occasions on the video. 4:56 PM-14 Feb 2019

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