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R. Kelly Germany concert canceled in wake of new charges

R. Kelly walks to his vehicle after exiting Biggs Mansion, a cigar lounge in Chicago's Gold Coast, late Monday night, Feb. 25, 2019, in Chicago. | Tyler LaRiviere/Sun-Times

BERLIN — A German concert arena canceled its contract Tuesday with the organizer of an R. Kelly tour, days after the R&B star was charged in the United States with sexually abusing four people, including three underage girls, dating back to 1998.

“Regarding the new and objective facts, we have decided to cancel the contract,” Ratiopharm Arena in Neu-Ulm wrote on its Facebook page. The operators of the arena had already removed advertisements for an April 12 concert from Facebook on Monday.

“We regret the fans’ understandable disappointment and ask them to turn to the tour’s organizer” regarding possible reimbursement of their tickets, Ratiopharm Arena wrote. The concert’s organizer, Thomas Bernard, did not return several requests for comments.

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The operator of the Sporthalle Hamburg arena, where another German concert is planned for April 14, said Tuesday that they were still pressing Kelly’s tour organizer in Germany to cancel the concert as they had been doing even before Kelly was officially charged.

“We’re in intensive talks with the organizer so that he will finally accept the situation and cancel this concert,” said Tom Oelrichs, from the Hamburg district that operating the Sporthalle arena.

“It’s obvious that R. Kelly will not be capable of holding his concert in Hamburg or elsewhere outside the U.S.,” he told The Associated Press.

Kelly, one of the best-selling music artists of all times, was arrested Friday on 10 counts of aggravated sexual abuse involving four females, three of whom were minors. Kelly’s attorney entered not guilty pleas on the singer’s behalf Monday.

The recording artist, whose legal name is Robert Kelly, has been trailed for decades by allegations that he violated underage girls and women and held some as virtual slaves. Kelly has consistently denied any sexual misconduct.

Kelly broke into the R&B scene in 1993 with his first solo album, “12 Play,” which produced such popular sex-themed songs as “Your Body’s Callin'” and “Bump N’ Grind.” He rose from poverty on Chicago’s South Side and has retained a sizable following. Kelly has written numerous hits for himself and other artists, including Celine Dion, Michael Jackson and Lady Gaga.

KIRSTEN GRIESHABER, Associated Press