- The Washington Times - Saturday, January 19, 2019

Sony Music has cut ties with R. Kelly amid facing pressure to punt the embattled Grammy Award-winning singer over allegations of sexual abuse, multiple outlets reported Friday.

Billboard first reported that Sony parted ways with the singer, born Robert Sylvester Kelly, and scrubbed his name from its RCA Records website.

Publications including Variety, Rolling Stone and The New York Times subsequently corroborated Billboard’s report and said that Sony had dropped the artist from its RCA roster, heeding calls to cut the singer over longstanding allegations amplified by a recent Lifetime docu-series, “Surviving R. Kelly.”

Representatives for both Sony and RCA declined to comment, Variety reported.

“We understand RCA’s position: they have to remain transparent for the sake of the other artists that they represent and generate wealth for,” said Don Russel, Mr. Kelly’s current adviser. “They’re not in the position of dealing with the kind of stuff that has come about with R. Kelly. He has no issue with RCA. I think he’s outgrown RCA. He’s ready for the next level of life, anyway,” he told Rolling Stone.

The subject of sexual misconduct allegations throughout his career, Mr. Kelly, 52, has faced heightened scrutiny in light of the recent Lifetime featuring interviews with women portraying the singer as a serial abuser. An activist group hired a plane to fly a banner over Sony headquarters last week urging the company to cut ties with the singer, and a similar petition garnered more than 200,000 signatures prior to being presented to the label on Wednesday.

“After years of profiting from R. Kelly, despite their knowledge of his sexual abuse of black girls, Sony’s RCA is finally acting,” Arisha Hatch of the group Color of Change said in a statement. “This victory belongs to the survivors of his abuse — their brave testimonies played a critical role in pushing RCA to drop R. Kelly.”

Mr. Kelly won three Grammy Awards in 1998 for his song “I Believe I Can Fly.”

He has denied allegations of sexual misconduct.

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