Remove alleged abuser R Kelly from Goldstar's event listings
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The Problem: R. Kelly., a once chart-topping R&B singer is now being promoted on Goldstar.com, with tickets on offer for his January 27, 2018 concert in New York City. Since the 1990s, R. Kelly has been accused of abuse of his power and money to have sex with minors, with revelations of a “sex cult” in summer 2017 the latest in a long list of allegations. Hollywood has taken action in support of the women Harvey Weinstein abused, and Netflix stepped up to support Kevin Spacey’s victims. All of us, including Goldstar, must also take a stand in support of those who have long accused R. Kelly of abuse.
History: Kelly's first publicized and questionable incident of statutory rape occurred in 1994. Kelly, who was 27 years old, married the late singer-songwriter, Aaliyah, who was 15, under a falsified document. The marriage was quickly annulled and Aaliyah was forced to sign a document swearing her to secrecy about the entire incident.
- In 1996, Kelly was sued for damages by a woman alleging the two began a sexual relationship when she was 15, and including reports of group sex with minors (Eventually settled out of court).
- In 2001 a separate allegation depicting a statutory relationship arose but was immediately settled out of court.
- In 2002, Kelly faced a lawsuit from a woman claiming that while she was underage he impregnated her, and then paid one of his assistants to take her to receive an unwanted abortion, as well a suit by another woman for filming their sex without her consent.
- Also in 2002, a video, was delivered anonymously to music critic Jim DeRogatis’s mailbox, showing a man who resembled R. Kelly having sex with a girl alleged to have been about 14 or 15 years old at the time. The man in the video can be seen urinating in the girl’s mouth. R. Kelly was then in court for child pornography during much of 2004-2008, but was found not guilty after neither the girl nor her parents were willing to testify.
- Kelly has faced at least a half-dozen more lawsuits for similar acts of sexual misconduct, sex with minors, child pornography, sexual assault, and forced nonconsensual sex.
In July 2017, Buzzfeed published a report alleging that Kelly was holding women against their will in a type of “sex cult,”“dictating what they eat, how they dress, when they bathe, when they sleep, and how they engage in sexual encounters that he records.” Kelly is now 50, but several of the women are barely of legal age (which is 17 in Illinois and 16 in Georgia).
In October 2017, R. Kelly’s former girlfriend Kitti Jones broke her silence on their relationship, alleging sexual coercion, physical abuse and emotional manipulation in a story published by Rolling Stone.
My first action: I emailed Goldstar asking them to remove R Kelly from their listings, and quickly received this canned response:
“Good morning, I understand your feelings about this event. Thanks very much for writing in with the information, we do appreciate hearing from our customers. We do understand that not all of the events we list will be to everyone's liking. We try to cover a broad range of events and we are sure to have some that don't meet everyone's standard of acceptability.
We do appreciate that you have taken the time to write to us with your concerns about this. It's not something we take lightly and it is a topic that is being discussed.”
I immediately replied that it’s not a matter of R. Kelly’s music being to my taste. It's about standing up for victims of abuse, which should a priority for all of us. I also asked who is discussing the issue and when a decision would be made, but received no further answer.
The next step: Stand with Kitty Jones and all of the women who have accused R. Kelly of abuse. Stand up for women and girls everywhere. Help to fight the systemic tolerance of rape culture in America. Sign the petition and let Goldstar know that WE ARE "SAYING NO" TO R. KELLY.
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