YouTube has taken down two channels linked to R. Kelly after he was found guilty of sex trafficking last week and will not allow him to create any new channels on the platform.
However, Kelly’s songs and albums will still be available on the YouTube Music service, and user-generated content using Kelly’s music is still allowed on the main platform.
YouTube terminated the channels tied to Kelly RKellyTV (which had 3.5 million subscribers) and RKellyVevo (which had about 1.6 million subscribers) in accordance with its creator responsibility guidelines, variety reports.
“Egregious actions committed by R. Kelly warrant penalties beyond standard enforcement measures due to a potential to cause widespread harm,” YouTube VP of legal Nicole Alston wrote in a memo, as reported by Bloomberg. “Ultimately we are taking this action to protect our users similar to other platforms.”
The singer’s official accounts on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook have also been recently disabled.
YouTube said it took down the channels linked to R. Kelly in accordance with its “creator responsibility guidelines” which prohibit “on- and/or off-platform behavior that we may consider to be inappropriate,” including “intending to cause malicious harm to others” and “participating in abuse or violence, demonstrating cruelty, or participating in fraudulent/deceptive behavior leading to real-world harm.”
Kelly’s music is still accessible on YouTube’s major competitors, including Spotify, Apple Music and Amazon Music. However, some users on social media have advocated for major music streaming services to take down Kelly’s discography, arguing in part that it was wrong to provide a global platform — and possible royalty revenues — to a convicted serial sexual predator.
Kelly, who has vehemently and repeatedly denied any wrongdoing, was found guilty of being the orchestrator of a long-running scheme to recruit women and underage girls for sex. Kelly is set to be sentenced May 4, 2022. The 54-year-old faces 10 years to life in prison.