R Kelly: Spotify removes singer from playlists

R Kelly at New York Fashion Week 2016Image copyright Getty Images

Spotify has removed R Kelly from its playlists as part of a new “Hate Content & Hateful Conduct” policy.

Users of the streaming service will still be able to find the R&B singer’s music, but Spotify will no longer actively promote it.

His music will be removed from all Spotify-owned and operated playlists and recommendations.

Spotify told Newsbeat: “We want our editorial decisions – what we choose to program – to reflect our values”.

Despite R Kelly’s music still being available on the service, Spotify told Newsbeat: “We are removing R. Kelly’s music from all Spotify-owned and operated playlists and algorithmic recommendations, such as Discover Weekly”.

Official Spotify playlists are labelled “by Spotify”.

R Kelly’s removal comes under the new “Hate Content & Hateful Conduct” policy, which is designed to “be consistent with our distinct roles in music and media”.

The company describes hate content as: “Content that expressly and principally promotes, advocates, or incites hatred or violence against a group or individual based on characteristics, including, race, religion, gender identity, sex, ethnicity, nationality, sexual orientation, veteran status, or disability.”

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Media captionWhy people are calling to #MuteRKelly… again

“We don’t censor content because of an artist’s or creator’s behaviour,” a representative told Newsbeat.

“But we want our editorial decisions – what we choose to program – to reflect our values.

“When an artist or creator does something that is especially harmful or hateful, it may affect the ways we work with or support that artist or creator.”

Spotify says it has been working on the global policy for “some months”, and has invited its users to report content that it feels violates its hate content policy.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption R Kelly has denied allegations of sexual assault

R Kelly was recently the centre of the #MuteRKelly campaign, which called for the singer to be boycotted after years of sexual assault allegations.

The hashtag was coined by Kinyette Tisha Barnes and co-founded by Oronike Odeleye, who organised protests to get the musician’s concerts cancelled.

A recent BBC Three documentary, R Kelly: Sex, Girls and Videotapes, sees filmmaker Ben Zand try to break down the alleged “wall of silence” around historical sexual abuse allegations involving the singer.

R Kelly has denied the claims against him.

In a statement given to Variety, his management said they would “vigorously resist this attempted public lynching of a black man.”

#MuteRKelly was backed by the Time’s Up movement and supported by Lupita Nyong’o and John Legend.

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