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Spotify Removes R Kelly’s Music from their Playlists Citing “Hateful Conduct”

By JaVonni Brustow / Published on Thursday, 10 May 2018 13:59 PM / No Comments
Photo credit: Noam Galai/Getty Images

And so it begins. Sixteen years after the allegations R Kelly participated in sexual acts on camera with a minor began. It’s also been literally 10 years to the very day that the jury selection began before he was eventually found not guilty on all counts for it all to begin again. Spotify has enacted a new policy citing hate content and hateful conduct as reason to remove music from their sponsored playlists. To be fair here, Spotify hasn’t removed his music from their service, it’s still available for streaming, but they’re not actively adding his music to any favorite lists of theirs.

The statement released by the streaming service said “We are removing R. Kelly’s music from all Spotify owned and operated playlists and algorithmic recommendations such as Discover Weekly. His music will still be available on the service, but Spotify will not actively promote it. We don’t censor content because of an artist’s or creator’s behavior, 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.”

Did you catch the irony there? The policy specifically states that an artist’s behavior is not taken into consideration as to what constitutes hateful conduct yet their statements says they are doing just that. Sadly, despite never being charged with a thing, he’s been accused of having women in a sex cult engaging in sexual violence and coercion, there was the #MuteRKelly movement at the end of April to which he responded saying it was an “attempt to distort my character and to destroy my legacy.” His label RCA, however is still on his side but Spotify’s decision to censure him appears to be the start of something new and all because of the #MeToo movement… feminists in search of a new victim to go after.

“When we look at promotion, we look at issues around hateful conduct, where you have an artist or another creator who has done something off-platform that is so particularly out of line with our values, egregious, in a way that it becomes something that we don’t want to associate ourselves with,” Jonathan Prince, Spotify’s vp/head of content and marketplace policy, tells Billboard. “So we’ve decided that in some circumstances, we may choose to not work with that artist or their content in the same way — to not program it, to not playlist it, to not do artist marketing campaigns with that artist.”

To abdicate themselves of responsibility in a way, Spotify made it clear that their decison was influenced by several social groups including The Southern Poverty Law Center, The Anti-Defamation League, Color Of Change, Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ), GLAAD, Muslim Advocates and the International Network Against Cyber Hate who all gave input into how they defined hateful content.

“Hate content is 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,” the policy reads. “When we are alerted to content that violates our policy, we may remove it (in consultation with rights holders) or refrain from promoting or manually programming it on our service.”

R Kelly isn’t the first person to be subject to this censuring. Some of it is done so with just cause. Last August, the company removed a number of white supremacist songs. Rashid Shabazz, Chief Marketing and Storytelling Officer at Color of Change, who helped Spotify shape this policy told Billboard, “We are pleased to be in partnership with Spotify, in identifying and setting standards to ensure content on their platform continues to allow for artistic and creative freedom and expression, while ensuring the most inclusive and just world we can live in. Spotify is a trendsetter, and we are encouraged and hopeful that the new policy will encourage others in the digital music industry to follow their example, and look to address content on their platforms that may foster hate, discrimination and bias.”

“I think that, frankly, all of us have become increasingly aware of the responsibility that we have when we make recommendations about content, and particularly when we’re doing that in a way that may send signals to our audience about what we believe and what we value,” Prince tells Billboard. “So we thought it was really past time for us to take a really over-arching look at that. These are really complicated issues and this is our first iteration of a really comprehensive policy. We’re going to continue to try to evolve our approach to these things.”

While many were disgusted with the R Kelly trial some 10-15 years ago, but it’s over. Unless someone can come up with new evidence or even prove the new assault allegations true, censuring him just for the sake of being involved in scandal is wrong and it’s our hope that the PC mob chooses their victims carefully.


Glitzers, do you think R Kelly should have had his music no longer promoted by Spotify over unfounded allegations?


About JaVonni Brustow

Urban Conservative, Principal at VM3 Media, Co-Editor-in-Chief of and, Javonni Brustow is a Communications and Media Consultant in Washington, DC with a decade of experience as a seasoned concert producer, marketing expert and brand management expert with multiple news publications. He can be heard LIVE Sundays at 3pm on Popglitz Radio and is a regular on the 'Did She Say That' Breitbart Radio Show with Sonnie Johnson. Inquiries: