Amid numerous allegations of sexual misconduct and the #MuteRKelly campaign—which aims to boycott the singer—R. Kelly still chose to perform in North Carolina on Friday night, where he told the audience that he’d recently “been through a lot,” BBC reported. While the concert continued, protesters gathered outside the venue.
The set was one of his first since the #MuteRKelly cause was launched, and Kelly thanked the crowd for continuing to “fight for me,” per BBC. The outlet also reported that he performed a number of “sexually explicit songs” and also rubbed a fan’s cell phone “between his legs,” in a seemingly sexual manner. The singer has continually denied any and all accusations lodged against him, and is not facing criminal charges.
Earlier this week, Spotify announced its new “Hate Content & Hateful Conduct” policy, and has since removed Kelly from Spotify-owned playlists, which includes Rap Caviar, Discover Weekly, and New Music Friday, though his music is still available on the platform.
The #MuteRKelly campaign has since picked up steam after the women of color within the #TimesUp movement chose to join forces. Time’s Up has asked for “appropriate investigations... into the allegations of R Kelly's abuse made by women of color,” per BBC. Hilariously, Kelly has stated that he “supports the pro-women goals” of the movement.
The number of claims against Kelly is stacked. In April, a woman came forward and said that he gave her a sexually transmitted disease when she was 19. Earlier in May, more accusers detailed his abuse and manipulation on the TODAY show. The conversations surrounding Kelly and his years-long history of alleged sexual abuse doesn't look like it's going away anytime soon.