R. Kelly, Sony Music Entertainment and its subsidiary RCA Records have severed ties.
While no official comment has yet been made from Sony Music Entertainment or RCA Records, a source reportedly confirmed the news to Variety adding that “no external announcement of the move is planned in the immediate future.” The controversial star’s name has also been removed from the list of artists on RCA Records’ website.
The reports come amid growing criticism of Kelly following the Surviving R. Kelly documentary which featured testimonies from a slew of women accusing the star of sexual assault. He has denied any wrongdoing.
A protest banner was flown over Sony headquarters in California last week (January 12), demanding that the singer be dropped from the label after facing multiple sexual misconduct allegations.
The banner, which was organised by the women’s group Ultraviolet, took aim at RCA, saw a plane fly above their Culver City offices, alongside a banner that read: “RCA/Sony: Drop Sexual Predator R. Kelly.”
✈️ banner that reads “Drop Sexual Predator R. Kelly” flies over Sony Music HQ for two hours today.
— NBC Los Angeles (@NBCLA) January 12, 2019
Rolling Stone reports that Don Russell, an advisor and consultant for Kelly, told them that the singer had two albums left on his contract with RCA. However, the status of those albums is unclear. The label has not been connected to Kelly’s recent releases such as ‘Born to My Music’ and last year’s ‘I Admit.’
Russell said: “We understand RCA’s position: they have to remain transparent for the sake of the other artists that they represent and generate wealth for.
“They’re not in the position of dealing with the kind of stuff that has come about with R. Kelly. He has no issue with RCA. I think he’s outgrown RCA. He’s ready for the next level of life, anyway. It makes sense for them to shake hands and say, ‘This train has run its course and I wish you guys the best and let’s move on.'”
Kelly issued a new denial of the claims against him through his lawyer, Steve Greenberg on January 11. The lawyer told the Associated Press: “The allegations aren’t true because he never knowingly had sex with an underage woman, he never forced anyone to do anything, he never held anyone captive, he never abused anyone.”
Meanwhile, police in Georgia confirmed that Kelly was facing criminal investigation after the Surviving R. Kelly documentary aired. Sources claim that the Fulton County District Attorney’s office is looking into allegations of sexual abuse, and have contacted multiple women as a result of the allegations which were made in the programme.
This is a developing story. NME has contacted Sony for comment.