R. Kelly's manager has blasted feminists attacking the singer, insisting he's on their side and a planned boycott of his music is "unjust".
The soul star is the focus of a campaign led by stars and activists behind the Time's Up movement, demanding an investigation into sexual abuse allegations against him.
Members of the anti-harassment and equality organisation's Women of Color committee, who include the director Ava DuVernay, TV mogul Shonda Rhimes and the actress Jurnee Smollett-Bell issued a statement on Monday (30Apr18) requesting authorities look into long-standing accusations levelled against the R&B star.
"We demand appropriate investigations and inquiries into the allegations of R. Kelly's abuse made by women and their families for more than two decades now," their statement read. "And we declare with great vigilance and a united voice to anyone who wants to silence us - their time is up."
Kelly has been the subject of under-age sexual allegations for years, and was acquitted on child pornography charges in 2008, but last year (17) the families of two women and several former associates accused him of coercing young women into becoming his sex pets. In a BBC documentary a former girlfriend also alleged he had admitted grooming a 14-year-old girl. The 51-year-old singer has denied the claims.
The stars have also backed a social media campaign with the hashtag #MuteRKelly seeking to prevent his music from being played and calling for concerts to be cancelled - and now his management team is firing back.
"R. Kelly supports the pro-women goals of the Time's Up movement," a statement reads. "We understand criticizing a famous artist is a good way to draw attention to those goals - and in this case, it is unjust and off-target.
"We will vigorously resist this attempted public lynching of a black man who has made extraordinary contributions to our culture."
But the Time's Up movement activists are refusing to back down.
"Together, we call on the following corporations and venues with ties to R. Kelly to join us and insist on safety and dignity for women of all kinds...," a statement reads, listing Kelly's label, RCA, Ticketmaster, Spotify and Apple Music and the Greensboro Coliseum Complex in North Carolina, where Kelly is booked to perform on 11 May (18).
The #MuteRKelly campaign began last year (17).
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