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R. Kelly's managers have slammed Spotify bosses for their "unfortunate" decision to remove all songs by the controversial singer from the streaming site's popular playlists.
The Ignition (Remix) hitmaker has faced intense scrutiny over the past year amid renewed concerns about his offstage behaviour, after facing a string of sexual violence allegations and claims suggesting he is running a "sex cult".
Representatives for Kelly, who has not been charged with any crime regarding the new claims, have repeatedly denied the accusations, but on Thursday (10May18), officials at Spotify decided to implement new rules regarding the artists they promote on their in-app playlists, and the 51-year-old's tracks will no longer feature.
"We are removing R. Kelly’s music from all Spotify-owned and operated playlists and algorithmic recommendations such as Discover Weekly," a spokesman told WENN in a statement. "His music will still be available on the service, but Spotify will not actively promote it."
Members of Kelly's team have now responded to the news - and they are not impressed.
A statement issued to People.com reads: "Mr. Kelly for 30 years has sung songs about his love and passion for women. He is innocent of the false and hurtful accusations in the ongoing smear campaign against him, waged by enemies seeking a payoff. He never has been convicted of a crime, nor does he have any pending criminal charges against him."
His representatives go on to criticise the way Kelly has apparently been singled out for punishment on the platform.
"Spotify promotes numerous other artists who are convicted felons, others who have been arrested on charges of domestic violence and artists who sing lyrics that are violent and anti-women in nature," the note continues. "Mr. Kelly falls into none of these categories, and it is unfortunate and shortsighted that Spotify fails to recognise this."
Songs by rapper XXXtentacion, who is facing a string of charges related to a 2016 arrest for domestic violence, have also been affected by Spotify's new hateful conduct provision policy, prompting a disgruntled tweet from hip-hop veteran 50 Cent.
"Spotify is wrong for what there doing to artist like R Kelly and xxxtentacion (sic)," he posted. "There not even convicted of any thing (sic)."