Anna Sheffer
April 30, 2018 1:10 pm
Noam Galai/Getty Images

Update, April 30th, 2 p.m. PDT: This article has been edited to include a statement about #MuteRKelly from one of Kelly’s representatives.

As the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements have reached a crescendo, more predatory men have been uncovered, and some, like Bill Cosby most recently, have even been convicted of their crimes. But while the movements have progressed, some people are wondering why accused sexual abuser R. Kelly has been left out of the conversation. And today, April 30th, the Time’s Up movement teamed up with an online campaign called #MuteRKelly in protest of the singer’s reported sexual abuse.

In an open letter published on Instagram and The Root today, Women of Color of Time’s Up announced the partnership and called for Kelly’s behavior to be investigated. They also addressed Kelly’s record label, RCA, Spotify, Apple Music, Ticketmaster, and Greensboro Coliseum Complex, saying that these companies should cut ties with the singer. Their letter also points out that Kelly’s victims were mostly women of color, who have been speaking out against the rapper for years.

“The scars of history make certain that we are not interested in persecuting anyone without just cause,” they wrote in the letter. “With that said, we demand appropriate investigations and inquiries into the allegations of R. Kelly’s abuse made by women of color and their families for over two decades now.

After the letter was published, Twitter users from Ava DuVernay to Constance Wu pledged their commitment to the #MuteRKelly campaign.

On the afternoon of April 30th, a representative for Kelly issued a statement to BuzzFeed News claiming that Kelly supported the mission of Time’s Up but condemning the #MuteRKelly campaign as a “greedy, conscious and malicious conspiracy to demean him.” The representative also reportedly described the campaign as an “attempted public lynching of a black man who has made extraordinary contributions to our culture.”

Kelly was first accused of sexually abusing young girls in 2000, and since then he has settled multiple rape cases out of court. In July 2017, a report for BuzzFeed News alleged that the singer had been keeping young black women in a sex-based cult. And some of Kelly’s ex-girlfriends have said that he subjected them to physical, sexual, and emotional abuse.

So how can you get involved if you also want to #MuteRKelly?

To participate in this movement, you can contact companies that have business ties to Kelly and demand they end their relationship with him. You can also boycott the singer’s upcoming shows and stop listening to his music. And if you want to help support victims of sexual harassment and assault, consider donating money to the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund.

The abuse that Kelly is accused of is horrific, and it’s time we held him accountable. To all survivors of sexual abuse: We are listening.

Advertisement