R. Kelly deletes post about Australia tour after social media backlash

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In this Nov. 17, 2015, file photo, musical artist R. Kelly performs the national anthem before an NBA basketball game between the Brooklyn Nets and the Atlanta Hawks in New York. | AP Photo/Frank Franklin II, File

NEW YORK — R. Kelly said Tuesday he is planning an international tour, but an Australian lawmaker wants the country to bar him from performing there if the concert plan goes forward.

The embattled musician announced on social media Tuesday that he’ll be going to Australia, New Zealand and Sri Lanka, but the tweet was later deleted.

“See y’all soon” the post said, accompanied by a picture of Kelly and the declaration “The King of R&B.” No dates or venues were revealed.

The now-deleted R. Kelly tweet about an international tour. | Screenshot from Twitter

The now-deleted R. Kelly tweet about an international tour. | Screenshot from Twitter

The tour tweet was deleted following a backlash from Twitter users who urged fans not to buy concert tickets and criticized the announcement, pointing out the irony that “R. Kelly is going on tour instead of jail.” No new criminal charges have been filed against Kelly since the most recent alleged sexual misconduct was brought to light. Several previous cases have been settled out of court. In 2008, he was found not guilty in a trial on child pornography charges.

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Read the Sun-Times coverage of the R. Kelly investigation

Kelly’s career has been stifled since a #MuteRKelly campaign gained momentum last year to protest his alleged sexual abuse of women and girls, which Kelly denies. Lifetime’s documentary series “Surviving R. Kelly” last month drew even more attention to the allegations, and his record label has reportedly dropped him.

Australia has denied entry to other foreigners on character grounds, among them troubled R&B singer Chris Brown, convicted classified document leaker Chelsea Manning, anti-vaxxer Kent Heckenlively and Gavin McInnes, founder of the all-male far-right group Proud Boys.

“If the Immigration Minister suspects that a non-citizen does not pass the character test, or there is a risk to the community while they are in Australia, he should use the powers he has under the Migration Act to deny or cancel their visa,” senior opposition lawmaker Shayne Neumann said in a statement.

Australia’s Home Affairs Department said it did not comment on individual cases. But the department said in a statement there were strong legal provisions to block entry to anyone “found not to be of good character.”

Kelly is a multiplatinum R&B star who has not only notched multiple hits for himself, but also many high-profile performers.

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