Spotify flips on its plan to ban “hateful conduct” from artists like R. Kelly
On May 11, Spotify announced a new two-part plan to ban “hate content” and “hateful conduct” from any artist who promotes hateful behavior through their lyrics and videos.
Now, the music company is doing what appears to be a flip-flop on its initial decision. After some industry backlash and major confusion, Spotify’s CEO said the company erred when it originally pulled artists like R. Kelly and XXXTentacion’s songs from its playlists amid sexual assault accusations.
“We rolled this out wrong and could have done a much better job,” said Chief Executive Daniel Ek, speaking at Recode’s Code conference late Wednesday, reports the New York Post.
“The whole goal with this was to make sure that we didn’t have hate speech on the service,” he continued. “It was never about punishing one individual.”
In a company statement, Spotify went on to clarify that they didn’t spend enough time getting input from their team and key partners before sharing the new guidelines. While they appear to be rethinking the hate content portion of the plan, they are keeping the ban against “hate content” in place.
“Spotify does not permit content whose principal purpose is to incite hatred or violence against people because of their race, religion, disability, gender identity, or sexual orientation,” the company said. “As we’ve done before, we will remove content that violates that standard. We’re not talking about offensive, explicit, or vulgar content – we’re talking about hate speech.”
Letting go of the Pied Piper
Spotify removed Kelly from its playlists because of the numerous allegations by multiple women against the “Bump & Grind” crooner of sexual violence, coercion and running a “sex cult.” The company announced Kelly’s music would fall under the new policy, but now, they are saying that was a hasty move that the company must reconsider.
“You get into really tricky things such as, ‘Has this person actually been charged with something, convicted with something?’ ” Ek said. “We want to express a lot of diverse opinions. We don’t want to be the judge and moral police of that.”
It is important to point out that while he has not been convicted of a crime, Kelly has been the subject of allegations of preying on young women for nearly 25 years.
Some of those claims include sexual violence and coercion. Kelly also famously and secretly wed late R&B sensation Aaliyah in 1994 when she was just 15-years-old, including falsifying her age on the marriage license.
Recently a woman came forward to say the singer gave her herpes when she was 19 and lured her into a sex cult, but Kelly has maintained his innocence.
Rapper XXXTentacion, whose music was returned to the playlists, was arrested and charged with aggravated battery of a pregnant woman and witness tampering.
Kelly music however has not yet been restored to the playlist.
The music industry has come under heavy scrutiny for its continued support of Kelly over the years. RCA Records has yet to drop him from his recording contract as Kelly continues to tour around the country.