YouTube Removes R. Kelly’s Channels After Sex-Trafficking Conviction
The disgraced singer was convicted by a federal jury in September in his sex trafficking trial, where prosecutors accused the singer of exploiting his stardom over a quarter-century to lure women and underage girls into his orbit for sex.
Two of his channels, RKellyTV and RKellyVevo, have been removed from YouTube, one of the world’s largest video platforms. Kelly will no longer be able to use, own or create any other YouTube channels, the platform decided. The service will delete a new channel if it is used to re-upload content from a previously terminated account.
The catalog of his music will however be available on YouTube Music, YouTube’s audio-streaming service, and the videos uploaded by other YouTube users will continue to be available.
A YouTube spokesperson confirmed in a statement that the two channels linked to R. Kelly have been terminated “in accordance with our creator responsibility guidelines.”
The guidelines state that if channel owners are accused of very egregious crimes, the platform can terminate their channels if the content is closely related to the crimes and the channel owners were convicted or pleaded guilty.
The removal follows years of protest from the #MuteRKelly movement. Long before the singer was indicted in four separate jurisdictions, the effort called to ban his music over long-standing abuse allegations.
His catalogue is still available on major platforms, including Spotify, Apple Music and Amazon Music.
Kelly, 54, was found guilty in September of nine criminal counts, including the most serious of racketeering, following six weeks of disturbing testimony accusing him of systematically recruiting women and teenagers for sex, before grooming and brutally abusing them.
He is currently incarcerated and faces up to life in prison, with his sentencing hearing scheduled for May 4.
Kelly is also slated for prosecution in three other jurisdictions, including Illinois federal court.