Spotify removed R&B singer R. Kelly from all of its editorial and algorithmic playlists on Thursday. Kelly is the first artist Spotify has acknowledged removing from its playlists under a recently implemented "hateful conduct" policy.
Spotify has removed the music of R&B singer R. Kelly from all of its editorial and algorithmic playlists starting Thursday, the music streaming service told Billboard.
Kelly, who has been accused of sexual misconduct and running an alleged "sex cult" by multiple women in the past year, will no longer appear on Spotify playlists like Discover Weekly or New Music Friday under the company's new policy addressing "hateful conduct," Spotify told Billboard.
"We are removing R. Kelly’s music from all Spotify owned and operated playlists and algorithmic recommendations such as Discover Weekly," Spotify told the outlet. "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."
Kelly was the first artist that Spotify acknowledged removing from its playlists under the new policy, after the singer's alleged sexual misconduct has come under increased scrutiny in recent months. Later on Thursday, a Spotify representative told The New York Times that the company's playlists had also removed the rapper XXXtentacion, who is currently facing charges in Florida that include aggravated battery of a pregnant woman.
Several women first accused the singer of running an abusive "sex cult" in a July 2017 article with Buzzfeed. Last week, two more women came forward to Buzzfeed with similar allegations of coercion and sexual violence in an article — days after the anti-sexual harassment organization Time's Up announced a social media campaign, #MuteRKelly, urging companies like Spotify and Apple Music to cut ties with the singer.
Kelly, who was acquitted of child pornography charges in 2008, is currently not the subject of any criminal investigations. Kelly has repeatedly denied the accusations in Buzzfeed's series of articles. Following the most recent Buzzfeed report last week, Kelly issued a statement, saying that the allegations were "perpetuated by the media" in an "attempt to distort my character and to destroy my legacy that I have worked so hard to build."
"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 head of content and marketplace policy told Billboard in a statement. "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."