R Kelly has effectively received a lifetime ban from YouTube with the streaming platform removing his channels following his sex trafficking conviction.
In September, the “I Believe I Can Fly” singer was found guilty on nine counts of racketeering and violations of the Mann Act in federal court. Prosecutors said his crimes included sexually abusing women, boys and girls for decades, and he now faces life in prison.
This week, some noticed the R&B singer’s music videos had disappeared from YouTube, prompting the platform to announce they had removed all official R Kelly content in light of the serious nature of his sex crimes.
A YouTube spokesperson confirmed the move and told Reuters: ‘We can confirm that we have terminated two channels linked to R Kelly in accordance with our creator responsibility guidelines.’
In 2018, the YouTube guidelines were updated to penalise content creators for their behaviour off the website. This means they can terminate a channel if the creator is accused of an egregious crime, if the content is closely related to the crime, or if the creator is convicted or has pleaded guilty.
Despite his channel ban, R Kelly’s music will still be available on YouTube Music, the company’s audio streaming service. Videos uploaded by other users that feature R Kelly’s music will continue to be available.
In 2019, the documentary series Surviving R Kelly, which detailed shocking allegations of abuse from multiple accusers, reignited the #MuteRKelly campaign to banish his music from streaming platforms.
After the series aired, it emerged that Spotify saw a 16% boost in streams of the musician’s catalogue.
R Kelly’s trial heard testimony from 50 witnesses over six weeks – the singer refused to take the stand and testify in his own defense.
The prosecution presented evidence that R Kelly, full name Robert Kelly, allegedly abused 22 victims, however, the charges laid out in the indictment centered on six alleged victims.
The Grammy-winning singer denied all charges as prosecutors showed jurors how he used a network of friends and employees to transport his victims across state lines, control their actions and facilitate the sexual abuse.
During closing arguments, assistant US attorney Elizabeth Geddes said the 54-year-old masterminded a scheme to ‘target, groom and exploit girls, boys and women’. The anonymous jury of seven men and five women deliberated for about nine hours across two days before reaching their unanimous verdict. (Metro)