Not On Their Watch: Ohio Festival Removes R Kelly From Lineup After Public Backlash
R. Kelly is an exceptionally talented musician. But sadly now that all of his dysfunction is out there for the world to see, his illness speaks louder than his talent. While there are still plenty of people who still ride for Kellz and his hypersexual music, other Columbus, Ohio residents weren’t having it. And their complaints resulted in Kelly being removed from the Fashion Meets Music Festival on Labor Day weekend.
R. Kelly was scheduled to perform on August 29, kicking off the three day festival in Columbus’ Arena district.
When news broke that he would not be performing, Kelly’s publicist released a statement: “R. Kelly is sorry to disappoint his fans but looks forward to seeing them in the near future during one of his upcoming tours.”
As soon as the festival announced that Kelly would be the headliner for the festival, complaints started pouring in from angry social media users. As you might assume, they cited the rape accusations and the indictment on his 21 counts of child pornography.
Here’s a sampling of what they had to say, according to the USA Today.
- “It’s actually very common for sexual predators to put on a good show. That is how they lure their victims.”
- (Rape victims responded to the Kelly booking with) “sheer horror. That’s why we are upset. Support victims of sexual abuse and don’t ignore them.”
- “Accepting R Kelly as an artist is to ignore the fundamental basics of human dignity. It’s not like he’s just a player and folks don’t dig it. A very real line was very clearly crossed and this is how we choose to express our disdain for the deeds and support for the victims.”
- “Vote with your wallets.”
Kelly was found not guilty of those charges in 2008 when jurors stated that while they believed that it was indeed R. Kelly in the tapes, they couldn’t be sure of the age of female participants.
Before Kelly was ever brought to trial, the Chicago Sun Times started publishing an investigative series which detailed Kelly’s history with underaged girls as young as 15.
Initially, the festival organization stood by the choice of R. Kelly but after the noticed the backlash the decided to ask Kelly to step down. Other performers for the weekend include Michelle Williams, Paper Diamond and Destructo, Future Islands and more.
Personally, I think Columbus made the right decision and I wish other individuals, organizations and venues would keep sending this same message until people realize this man has a very real problem and he should seek help.