A radio station in R. Kelly’s hometown of Chicago has stopped playing the singer’s music after the Lifetime series “Surviving R. Kelly” brought renewed attention to the disturbing history of his alleged abusive behavior.
“As a leader of a team where women contribute unselfishly, in a business where the majority of our audience is women, as a son, a brother and a husband of a devoted family, and to hear and see the pain and suffering that is real for so many, effective immediately, we will no longer play the music of R. Kelly,” Watts said.
He told the Chicago Sun-Times that he’s gotten mixed reactions from listeners. Some thanked him while others said they would no longer tune in.
“As you look at both sides and everything going on, and the #MeToo movement, we felt it was the right thing to do,” Watts told the paper.
Responding to Facebook commenters challenging the decision, Watts wrote that the station “passes NO judgment on anyone.” The idea was simply “to stand up for women and give voice in hopes that someone will be healed. That’s it. That is all.”
“Surviving R. Kelly,” the product of more than 50 interviews, aired over a span of five days earlier this month and pulled in an average of 2 million viewers per installment. Although all of the women featured had previously told their stories publicly, the series got a lot of people talking.
Kelly’s history of alleged misconduct includes a child pornography charge, several lawsuits, marriage to a 15-year-old Aaliyah when he was 27 and persistent reports that he holds women captive in a cult-like environment. Kelly was acquitted on all 14 counts of child pornography, which stemmed from a video appearing to show him having sex with an underaged girl.
Authorities in Atlanta are reportedly investigating the singer’s behavior, and Chicago prosecutors have asked other victims to come forward.