Sony is terminating its relationship with R Kelly, according to reports.
Sources have told Variety and Billboard that RCA Records, a subsidiary of Sony, will finish its working relationship with the singer in the wake of the documentary Surviving R Kelly. In the series, multiple women accuse him of sexual abuse, allegations that have followed him for decades.
The documentary prompted protests online and outside Sony’s New York headquarters earlier this week. It also follows major names, including Lady Gaga and Celine Dion, choosing to remove their duets with the singer from streaming platforms.
“I stand behind these women 1,000%, believe them, know they are suffering and in pain, and feel strongly that their voices should be heard and taken seriously,” Lady Gaga wrote on Instagram. “What I am hearing about the allegations against R Kelly is absolutely horrifying and indefensible.”
Kelly has also been removed from the RCA website. The singer originally signed with Jive at the start of his career in the 90s and after it became part of Sony BMG, he soon moved over to RCA.
Robert Kelly, now 52, has been the subject of sexual abuse allegations for more than 20 years. Kelly has only appeared before a judge once, in 2008, when he was accused of making child abuse images by filming sexual encounters, including one in which he allegedly urinated over an underage girl. A jury couldn’t identify the man or the girl in the video without doubt, and Kelly was acquitted.
After the Lifetime series Surviving R Kelly aired, fresh investigations were launched in both Chicago and Atlanta, with prosecutors appealing for new information. Calls to the US National Sexual Assault Hotline rose by 20% and this week has also seen Kelly’s former manager Henry James Mason surrendering to authorities on charges of terrorism.
Mason has been accused of making threats to Timothy Savage, the father of Jocelyn Savage, a woman living with Kelly. Savage was also allegedly threatened by R Kelly’s current manager, Don Russell.
Kelly’s lawyer Steve Greenberg called the documentary “another round of stories” that were created “to fill reality TV time”. Kelly and Sony Music have both yet to release an official statement.