YouTube removes R. Kelly’s channels after sex crime conviction

R&B singer R. Kelly’s two YouTube channels have been taken down after he was found guilty of sex crimes last week.

RKellyTV and RKellyVevo, two of the singer’s YouTube channels, have been terminated, and he will no longer be permitted to create or own any other YouTube channel, according to YouTube.

His whole song catalog will be available on YouTube Music, YouTube’s audio-streaming service, while videos produced by other YouTube users will remain accessible. In a statement to Reuters, a YouTube spokeswoman said:

“We can confirm that we have terminated two channels linked to R. Kelly in accordance with our creator responsibility guidelines.”

YouTube VP of legal, Nicole Alston also wrote in a memo; 

“Egregious actions committed by R. Kelly warrant penalties beyond standard enforcement measures due to a potential to cause widespread harm.

 “Ultimately we are taking this action to protect our users similar to other platforms.”

Following decades of people coming forward to accuse him of sex crimes, Kelly was found guilty on September 27 in federal court in New York of directing a scheme to recruit women and girls for sex.

Kelly’s music has virtually vanished from the radio, but it can still be found on streaming services. For years, his classic song “I Believe I Can Fly” was a frequent choice at graduation ceremonies. At his sentence on May 4, 2022, he faces a mandatory minimum of ten years in jail and a maximum of life in prison.

After months of criticism, Kelly’s longstanding company, Sony Music’s RCA Records, broke relations with him in January 2019. However, the label owns practically all of his discography, which is still available on major music streaming platforms.

Following Kelly’s conviction, a Morning Consult poll found that 44 percent of audio-streaming service customers believe Spotify and Apple Music should remove his music from their archives, while 36 percent believe his tracks should remain up and running.

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