YouTube Removes R. Kelly’s Channels
Written by on October 6, 2021
R. Kelly’s YouTube channels have been removed in the wake of his guilty verdict.
A week after the singer’s conviction on federal racketeering and sex trafficking charges, YouTube deleted two of his official video channels, which hosted his music videos. According to The New York Times, RKellyTV and Kelly’s Vevo account were removed on Tuesday in what YouTube described as an enforcement of its terms of service.
“We can confirm that we have terminated two channels linked to R. Kelly in accordance with our creator responsibility guidelines,” Ivy Choi, a YouTube spokesperson, said in a statement.
As part of its guidelines, YouTube may shut down the channels of people accused of very serious offenses if they have been convicted of or pleaded guilty to crimes, and if their content is closely related to those crimes.
“Egregious actions committed by R. Kelly warrant penalties beyond standard enforcement measures due to a potential to cause widespread harm,” YouTube’s head of legal, Nicole Alston, wrote in a memo. “Ultimately we are taking this action to protect our users similar to other platforms.”
Kelly will no longer be able to use, own, or create YouTube channels, but it’s not a complete ban. The singer’s music is still allowed on YouTube through user-generated content, including covers of his songs, and on his own “topic” page.
Additionally, YouTube will continue to offer Kelly’s catalog on its audio streaming service, YouTube Music.
Last month, R. Kelly was convicted on all nine counts by a federal jury in New York, including racketeering, sex trafficking, and the sexual exploitation of a child. He faces decades in prison.
While deleting a channel for a person’s behavior in the real world is unusual, it is not unprecedented for YouTube. The Google-owned video platform has previously removed the channels of creators like FamilyOFive and Austin Jones, best known for his a cappella covers, who pleaded guilty to a child pornography charge.