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Monday, September 20, 2021

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Spotify Removed R. Kelly’s Entire Catalog From Music Streaming Service Using Their ‘Hateful Conduct’ Policy, and Then Immediately Backtracked

R. Kelly is loved by many and loathed by many others. The polarizing R&B star has divided the public for years thanks to his alleged behavior and a sea of women speaking out against him and his abuse. Streaming giant Spotify recently made attempts to support victims of abuse and assault by removing music from convicted stars off the platform’s playlists. They appear to have immediately backtracked on this decision after removing Kelly’s catalog.

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Those familiar with R. Kelly’s past can remember when rumors first circulated about him being married to the late singer Aaliyah Houghton. He was introduced to the then teenage star through her uncle, and eventually came on board to help executive produce, write and record her debut album ironically titled Age Ain’t Nothing but a Number. Their mentor/mentee relationship at some point became more with the two becoming romantically linked. The pair denied this and downplay the rumors of their relationship, claiming that they were just friends. However the marriage license between them eventually became public, showing that the then 27-year-old R. Kelly had married a then 15-year-old Aaliyah, although the marriage certificate claimed that she was 18. The marriage was quickly annulled by her parents.

Kelly has since been incarcerated after several people came forward to prove claims that he’d been sexual assaulting women for years. This was on the back of a series on Lifetime titled Surviving R. Kelly plus a viral movement to #mute him.

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Spotify took this idea serious and for a moment considered pulling down catalogs of embroiled artists like R. Kelly, XXXtentacion and others. Spotify’s controversial policy to reduce “hate content and hateful conduct” went public at the top of May with them planning to “scrub music that was violent or hateful from its platform” according to Rollingstone. However, the esteemed outlet reported that they’ve walked back on those plans amidst concerns that Spotify should not be playing moral politics with music. Spotify chief executive Daniel Ek admitted the idea was ill executed in an interview, adding that the company “could have done a much better job.” 

The company released a statement updating the policy. R. Kelly’s music was not removed from the platform but it was taken off all their featured playlists.

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