R Kelly among artists affected under Spotify's new policy

The R&B singer was recently the focus of a viral social media campaign, #MuteRKelly, that called for Spotify and Apple Music to expel him. (Jason Merritt/Getty Images)

The R&B singer was recently the focus of a viral social media campaign, #MuteRKelly, that called for Spotify and Apple Music to expel him. (Jason Merritt/Getty Images)

On Thursday, the digital music platform Spotify announced new policy preventing the promotion of music from any “hateful” artist, including singer and alleged sexual predator R Kelly.

In a Hate Content & Hateful Conduct section on their policies page, Spotify announced that it would be taking stringent measures against hateful content and artists who commit hateful conduct.

The company classifies hate content as anything that “expressly and principally promotes, advocates, or incites hatred or violence against a group or individual based on characteristics, including, race, religion, gender identity, sex, ethnicity, nationality, sexual orientation, veteran status, or disability”.

The company announced that, although it will not ban music from artists who behave maliciously, the platform will no longer promote their music. As a result, their music will be removed from all Spotify-owned playlists and recommendations.

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Among the artists affected by the policy is R Kelly, who has faced a recent spate of allegations of abuse of underage girls and women.

In a statement to NPR, Spotify said, “We are removing R Kelly’s music from all Spotify-owned and operated playlists and algorithmic recommendations such as Discover Weekly. His music will still be available on the service, but Spotify will not actively promote it.”

The R&B singer, who is popular for his songs I Believe I Can Fly and Ignition,was recently the focus of a viral social media campaign, #MuteRKelly, that called for Spotify and Apple Music to expel him. The campaign also called for his May 11 concert in Greensboro, South Carolina, to be cancelled, but the point was ineffective.

The singer has faced sexual misconduct allegations before. In 2008, Kelly was charged with child pornography, but was acquitted.

Kelly’s management commented to NPR on Spotify’s action, claiming that it is baseless.

“Spotify has the right to promote whatever music it chooses and in this case its actions are without merit. It is acting based on false and unproven allegations,” they said. “It is bowing to social-media fads and picking sides in a fame-seeking dispute over matters that have nothing to do with serving customers.”

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In order to implement their policy, Spotify will take a “three-tiered” approach, according to NPR.

First, it will partner with advocacy groups including Southern Poverty Law Center, The Anti-Defamation League, Colour Of Change, Showing Up for Racial Justice, GLAAD, Muslim Advocates and the International Network Against Cyber Hate.

Then it will create an algorithm to filter out hate content. Lastly, it will give users the ability to report hateful content.

R Kelly is not the only artist affected by these policy changes. Rapper XXXTentacion, who faces charges of domestic abuse, will be impaired by the platform’s new policy.

Arielle Schwartz

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