The tide may be turning against R. Kelly.
Although Kelly has faced multiple accusations of sexual misconduct over the past 24 years, he has by and large weathered the swelling of the #MeToo movement and the rise of Time’s Up unscathed. But earlier in April, at least three of Kelly’s longtime employees left him, following the airing of the British documentary R Kelly: Sex, Girls & Videotapes.
And now, the Women of Color committee within Time’s Up is calling on all women of color to join the online campaign #MuteRKelly. The campaign calls for anyone currently profiting from Kelly and his music to cut all ties with him, including Spotify, Ticketmaster, and Kelly’s record label, RCA.
“The scars of history make certain that we are not interested in persecuting anyone without just cause,” Women of Color of Time’s Up said in their statement. “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.”
Multiple prominent celebrities have tweeted their support to the campaign, including A Wrinkle in Time director Ava DuVernay, actress Kerry Washington, and singer John Legend.
The full statement from Women of Color Within Time’s Up is available online at the Root, and Vox has collected all the accusations of sexual misconduct made against R. Kelly and organized them into a timeline.
A spokesperson for Kelly says that while Kelly supports the Time’s Up movement, the campaign against him is “unjust and off-target.”
A statement from R. Kelly's team on today's Time's Up + #MuteRKelly news:— Michael Blackmon (@blackmon) April 30, 2018
"R. 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."
While #MuteRKelly may or may not succeed in breaking Kelly away from the institutions that have shielded him thus far, it’s another sign that cultural momentum is turning on him. It’s seemingly no longer quite as easy as it once was to be a wildly successful star in America and also an accused predator.