Sony Splits With R. Kelly

The alleged parting of the ways comes after the airing of Lifetime's critically acclaimed 'Surviving R. Kelly' docuseries.

R. Kelly

Image via Getty/Rick Kern/WireImage

R. Kelly

Sony Music and R. Kelly have reportedly come to an agreement in which both parties said yes to parting ways.

That's the word from Billboard, which said Friday that the two would be splitting. An official statement from Sony has not been released.

Sony Music owns RCA Records, the label behind multiple Kelly albums including 2016's 12 Nights of Christmas and the 2014 compilation The Essential R. Kelly. Earlier this week, it was reported that RCA and Sony had decided to put any new Kelly music on hold. Per TMZ, Kelly's current deal was believed to include two more albums under the label.

A separate report from Variety Friday worded the move as an outright dropping of Kelly. Whether his back catalog will remain with RCA/Sony, however, remains "unclear."

This month the national women's organization UltraViolet commissioned a plane to fly a banner reading "RCA/SONY: DROP SEXUAL PREDATOR R. KELLY" over the Sony Music offices in Culver City.

Women's rights group flies R. Kelly banner over Sony offices in Culver City

— ABC7 Eyewitness News (@ABC7) January 12, 2019

"We are deeply disappointed that in light of the comprehensive allegations of sexual abuse made public by the Surviving R. Kelly documentary, that RCA Records and Spotify continue to choose abusers over the survivors of their crimes," Karin Roland, the group's chief campaigns officer, said.

As of Jan. 18, R. Kelly's name had been removed from the roster page of the official RCA site.

Also on Friday, NBC released the first footage from their interview with Tracy Sampson, who alleges that Kelly began a sexual relationship with her when she was 16. "I didn't know if this is how adults acted," she said. Sampson was an intern for Epic Records, also owned by Sony Music.

View this video on YouTube

In a new statement Friday, UltraViolet co-founder Shaunna Thomas said their battle now moves to places like Spotify and iHeartRadio:

It is long past time that Sony Music and RCA Records sever ties with R. Kelly.

Arisha Hatch, who serves as the managing director of campaigns for Color of Change, shared the below statement:

“After years of profiting from R. Kelly, despite their knowledge of his sexual abuse of Black girls,  Sony’s RCA is finally acting. This move comes just two days after Color Of Change and our partners brought our protest to the doorsteps  of the label’s headquarters. 

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