R. Kelly’s YouTube channel gets shut down following conviction

The singer’s official RKellyTV and RKellyVEVO channels were dropped Tuesday.

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YouTube has deleted R. Kelly’s channels following his conviction on sex trafficking charges. 

The singer’s official RKellyTV and RKellyVEVO channels were recently dropped and are permanently banned, but his songs and albums will remain on YouTube Music, TheWrap reports. “We can confirm that we have terminated two channels linked to R. Kelly in accordance with our creator responsibility guidelines,” a YouTube spokesperson told TheWrap Wednesday.

R. Kelly thegrio.com
(Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)

The R&B star, born Robert Kelly, 54, was found guilty of all nine charges in his racketeering and sex trafficking in September, putting an end to a highly-publicized federal trial in Brooklyn. The “I Believe I Can Fly” singer was charged with eight counts of violating the Mann Act, an anti-sex-trafficking statute, and one count of racketeering.

Kelly pled not guilty to all the counts against him and chose not to testify in his own defense. He was described as visibly emotionless as the verdict was read. He now faces 20 years to life in prison; sentencing will take place on May 4, 2022.

This was the second high-profile case against Kelly, who was acquitted in 2008 of 14 counts of child pornography. 

R Kelly Chicago jail attack thegrio.com
Singer R. Kelly appears during a hearing at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse on September 17, 2019, in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Antonio Perez – Pool via Getty Images)

YouTube’s policy allows for the accounts of creators guilty of serious crimes or who engage in “malicious harm to others” away from its platform to be removed.

Per the streaming giant’s guidelines, creators must “remain responsible both on and off the platform.” The Google-owned platform considers “inappropriate” behavior to include “participating in abuse or violence, demonstrating cruelty, or participating in fraudulent/deceptive behavior leading to real world harm.”

“Egregious actions committed by R. Kelly warrant penalties beyond standard enforcement measures due to a potential to cause widespread harm,” YouTube’s legal lead, Nicole Alston, said in a memo on the deletions, according to Bloomberg. “Ultimately we are taking this action to protect our users similar to other platforms.”

The disgraced R&B superstar’s trial featured more than 50 witnesses, including young women and a man who alleged that Kelly sexually abused them over the course of two decades.

Prosecutors accused Kelly of marrying an underage Aaliyah when she was 15 to prevent her from testifying against him in 1994. Assistant District Attorney Maria Cruz Melendez claimed in court that Kelly believed Aaliyah was pregnant with his child and wanted to prevent legal consequences. The illegal marriage was annulled by her parents.

Kenyette Tisha Barnes, co-founder of the #MuteRKelly movement, told NBC News that the removal of the singer’s YouTube channels was “the beginning of the seismic paradigm shift of R. Kelly’s legacy,” and expressed “hope that other platforms follow suit and Mute R. Kelly.”

Following news of Kelly’s YouTube ban, the MuteRKelly campaign tweeted, “Waiting on you @youtubemusic, and you too @Spotify @AppleMusic @AmazonMusic.”

R. Kelly also faces sex crimes charges in Illinois and Minnesota. His music remains available to stream on Spotify, Apple Music, Tidal and Amazon Music.

This article contains additional reporting from theGRIO’s Stephanie Guerilus.  

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