YouTube Removes R. Kelly's Official Channels After Federal Conviction

By Cherranda Smith

October 6, 2021

Photo: Getty Images

YouTube has removed two of R. Kelly's official channels following the 54-year-old's conviction in the federal sex trafficking and racketeering case against him.

The disgraced R&B singer's songs and albums will still be available on the YouTube Music platform, however. User-generated content that uses Kelly's music is also still allowed.

The video streaming platform was able to pull the channels linked to Kelly in accordance with its creator guidelines which state that if a creator is found guilty of horrific crimes, YouTube reserves the right to terminate their account. YouTube also noted federal prosecutors' argument in the case that Kelly used his music and celebrity to lure underage women and commit sexual crimes.

Kelly was found guilty on all counts of sex trafficking and racketeering after prosecutors took nearly a month and over 40 witness to lay out a case proving the singer ran a criminal enterprise for the intent of transporting underage girls and women for sexual acts in violation of the Mann Act.

Kelly has denied allegations against him, though he's been accused of sexual misconduct involving underage women over the course of his career. In 2008, the singer was acquitted of child pornography charges.

Following Kelly's conviction, there's been a resurgence in getting the singer's music taken down from other major streaming services –– where it remains available.

Oronike Odeleye and Kenyette Tisha Barnes co-founded the #MuteRKelly movement online to prevent his music from being played on radio stations around the country. In a statement to NBC News, Barnes said YouTube's actions to remove his channels is "the beginning of the seismic paradigm shift of R. Kelly's legacy."

"It was his music that allowed him to buy himself out of accountability... It is my hope that other platforms follow suit and Mute R. Kelly," Barnes added.

The singer's songs still get millions of streams on music services each month.

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RAINN's National Sexual Assault Hotline is 1-800-656-4673.

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