Cosby was ‘just the start’. R Kelly targeted on sex abuse

Campaign urges further investigation into claims of sexual coercion and abuse

The Time’s Up campaign has urged the music business to boycott R&B star R Kelly. who has faced repeated allegations of mistreatment of underage girls and young women. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

The Time’s Up campaign has urged the music business to boycott R&B star R Kelly. who has faced repeated allegations of mistreatment of underage girls and young women. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

 

The Time’s Up campaign is taking aim at US singer R Kelly over allegations he sexually abused women.

The organisation devoted to helping women in the aftermath of sexual abuse issued a statement on Monday urging further investigation into Kelly’s behaviour.

The singer has come under closer scrutiny over the past year as women have come forward to accuse him of sexual coercion and physical abuse. Kelly has denied all such charges.

“We demand appropriate investigations and inquiries into the allegations of R Kelly’s abuse made by women and their families for more than two decades now.

“And we declare with great vigilance and a united voice to anyone who wants to silence us — their time is up,” the statement said.

The statement was issued by the Women of Colour committee within Time’s Up, which includes Oscar-nominated director Ava DuVernay, TV mogul Shonda Rhimes and actress Jurnee Smollett-Bell.

The social media campaign #MuteRKelly has sought to stop his music from being played and to cancel his concerts, and Time’s Up said it is joining that call.

Specifically, Time’s Up is seeking action from RCA Records, Kelly’s label; Spotify and Apple Music, which stream Kelly’s catalogue; and Ticketmaster, which has sold tickets to his concerts.

It is also calling for the cancellation of a May 11th concert in Greensboro, North Carolina.

RCA, Spotify, Apple Music and Ticketmaster have not responded to requests for comment.

The Time’s Up letter was addressed to women of colour. It started by saying, “We see you. We feel you. Because we are you.”

It continued: “For too long, our community has ignored our pain. The pain we bear is a burden that too many women of colour have had to bear for centuries. The wounds run deep. As Women of Colour within Time’s Up, we recognise we have a responsibility to help right this wrong. We intend to shine a bright light on our WOC sisters in need.”

Time’s Up cited Bill Cosby’s conviction last week for sexual assault as a step in the right direction but said it was “just a start”.

Kelly, whose hits include I Believe I Can Fly and Bump N’ Grind, is one of pop music’s best-selling artists, but he has long been accused of behaviour that has ranged from questionable to criminal, which he denies.

An appearance at a concert in his native Chicago scheduled for Friday was cancelled after protests.

In a Twitter post on Sunday to his fans, Kelly said he was looking forward to his May 11th concert and had no idea why his Chicago appearance was scrapped.

“I never heard of a show being cancelled because of rumours, but I guess it’s a first time for everything and I apologise to you guys, and in the meantime, I’m going to try and get to the bottom line of it, as far as my lawyers are concerned,” he said in a video.

–PA