YouTube Removes Official R. Kelly Channels Following Sex Abuse Conviction

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YouTube has decided to pull two of R. Kelly’s official channels from the video platform after he was found guilty in his weeks-long sex trafficking trial in Brooklyn, Bloomberg reports

“We can confirm that we have terminated two channels linked to R. Kelly in accordance with our creator responsibility guidelines,” a spokesperson for YouTube said. YouTube’s “creator responsibility guidelines” state that the company might remove a user for “on- and/or off-platform behavior that we may consider to be inappropriate.” The guidelines continue by saying that a user can be penalized for “participating in abuse or violence, demonstrating cruelty, or participating in fraudulent/deceptive behavior leading to real world harm.”

The two channels in question are R. Kelly TV and R. Kelly Vevo, both of which now display messages letting users know that the accounts have been terminated. 

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

Alston added that Kelly is barred from ever using YouTube again. Despite the ban, Kelly’s music will still be allowed on YouTube Music. As of this writing, Kelly’s music remains available on major music streamers like Spotify and Apple Music.

In 2018, Spotify announced they were removing Kelly’s songs, as well as music from XXXTentacion and Tay-K, from playlists curated by the platform, citing their hate content and hateful conduct policy. Spotify later backtracked after being criticized for the decision.

“While we believe our intentions were good, the language was too vague, we created confusion and concern, and didn’t spend enough time getting input from our own team and key partners before sharing new guidelines,” the Swedish company said in a statement. “We don’t aim to play judge and jury. We aim to connect artists and fans – and Spotify playlists are a big part of how we do that.”

Kelly was found guilty of nine racketeering and sex trafficking counts last week on Monday, September 27. Around 50 witnesses were called to testify during the trial. The disgraced singer faces a minimum of 10 years in prison and up to life. He’s scheduled to be sentenced on May 4, 2022.

The “I Believe I Can Fly” singer is still facing other charges in Illinois and Minnesota.

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