According to Rolling Stone, R. Kelly has decided not to perform at Columbus, Ohio’s Fashion Meets Music Festival, following scrutiny from local press, a radio station that withdrew its sponsorship and a band that backed out of its slot over the R&B singer’s legal issues regarding alleged illicit activity with minors.
Kelly was supposed to perform at the festival on August 29th, but now both Kelly and the festival have released a joint statement about his departure saying,
“Fashion Meets Music Festival and headlining artist R. Kelly have come to the mutual decision to cancel Kelly’s upcoming performance at the inaugural Fashion Meets Music Festival.”
A rep for R. Kelly also added,
“R. Kelly is sorry to disappoint his fans, but looks forward to seeing them in the near future during one of his upcoming tours.”
Rolling Stone reports that the announcement came following weeks of public frustration with the Kelly performance. The Columbus-based folk rock group Saintseneca wrote on their website that Kelly’s inclusion in the lineup “ignores his very serious allegations of sexual violence and assault” and that they were choosing not to perform on the same bill as him.
A local radio station WCBE also ended its sponsorship of the event. The station’s general manager, Dan Mushalko, addressed that the local school district which sponsors the station was not a fan of Kelly being there.
“Obviously, since they represent children and teenagers, they didn’t want us associated with the event if R. Kelly was a part of it. So, whether you looked at it from our internal ethics, or the feedback from our listeners and the school district, it came down to everything saying, ‘You just can’t do it. There was a lot of back and forth on the criticism we did receive, but then also looking at [Kelly] as an artist.”
A rep for the festival also chimed in saying,
“Truly the last few weeks…the festival has taken a lot of heat, and we really just wanted to listen to Columbus and really take a stance and move forward.”
Wow…it took until 2014 for this to happen? So, what was the city of Columbus doing during the other times R. Kelly performed there? It would be interesting to find out.
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