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EDITORIAL: #MuteRKelly, once and for all

Musician R. Kelly photographed at the Chicago Recording Company, Thursday, October 15, 2015. | James Foster / For Sun-Times Media

R. Kelly, at the Chicago Recording Company in October 2015. | James Foster / For Sun-Times Media

If there’s a radio station in Chicago still playing R. Kelly’s music, shame on them.

If there’s a concert venue still willing to book him, shame on them, too.

They are turning a blind eye to the abundant evidence of Kelly’s sexual pursuit and abuse of underage girls.

Surviving R. Kelly,” the 3-part documentary seen last week by an estimated 1.9 million viewers, laid it all out in explicit, harrowing details recounted by some of the survivors of Kelly’s abuse, including his ex-wife.


If those stories weren’t enough, there was Kelly himself, seen in the documentary in a damning video clip from a 2008 interview. Kelly, asked by the interviewer if he “liked teenage girls,” fumbled and stumbled, unable to give the only moral answer for a man who was then 42: a swift, unequivocal “No.”

“Surviving R. Kelly” has jump-started #MuteRKelly, the nationwide campaign, led by young black women, to end Kelly’s career because of his abusive behavior toward underage black girls and barely adult young black women.

We support that campaign.

The Sun-Times is Ground Zero for reporting on Kelly’s predatory behavior. In 2000, then-reporters Jim DeRogatis and Abdon Pallasch laid the groundwork with their investigation of the hometown kid turned superstar who, among other sordid details, hung around his former high school to pick up underage girls and paid off his alleged teenaged victims.

Kelly’s career has taken a slow nosedive since then, though he was acquitted of child pornography charges stemming from an infamous sex tape allegedly showing Kelly with a 14-year-old girl. Some radio stations eventually stopped playing Kelly’s music, and Spotify and other music streaming services dropped him from their playlists.

But Kelly keeps making music, unrepentant.

A song he released last year, “I admit,” was filled with crocodile tears and self-pity, not remorse.

#TimesUp for Kelly. The Pied Piper of R&B shouldn’t earn another penny from his music.

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