Published Jul 29, 2014Public outcry over R. Kelly's alleged sexual predator behaviour has forced organizers of a Columbus, OH music festival to cancel a headlining appearance from the controversy-stirring R&B figure.
Kelly was to have headlined the inaugural Fashion Meets Music Festival this coming Labour Day, but an outpouring of criticism from the public on the festival's Facebook and Twitter accounts decried organizers for booking Kelly, who was indicted in 2002 on charges of making child pornography with a teenage girl but acquitted in 2008.
A recent interview with Chicago Sun-Times writer Jim DeRogatis, however, brought the allegations back to light with the reveal of several court documents detailing sex-crime allegations.
Commenters on Facebook revealed that they had reacted to the booking with "sheer horror," stating Kelly's appearance would be insensitive to victims of sexual abuse.
"Accepting R. Kelly as an artist is to ignore the fundamental basics of human dignity," reads a comment on Facebook. "It's not like he's just a player and folks don't dig it. A very real line was very clearly crossed and this is how we choose to express our disdain for the deeds and support for the victims."
Following the outcry, organizers tweeted out yesterday (July 28):
FMMF and R. Kelly have decided to part ways. Thank you for your support, we look forward to seeing you next month. http://t.co/6d1OVaNHJT— Fashion + Music Fest (@FMMFestival) July 28, 2014
"We wanted to make sure we heard the Columbus listeners ... to make a statement and support the city we live in," festival spokeswoman Melissa Dickson explained to Dispatch.
A statement from Kelly's press team notes of the cancellation: "R. Kelly is sorry to disappoint his fans but looks forward to seeing them in the near future during one of his upcoming tours."