January 19, 2019 / 2:32 AM / 7 months ago

Sony's RCA parts ways with R. Kelly after abuse uproar - media reports

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - R. Kelly has parted ways with his Sony Music-owned RCA record label, Billboard magazine, Variety and the New York Times reported on Friday, and he no longer appears on the roster of artists on RCA’s website.

The reported split follows decades of allegations of sexual and physical abuse by the Grammy-winning singer, which were the subject of a new six-hour television documentary aired earlier this month. Kelly’s attorney has denied the allegations.

RCA and Kelly’s representatives did not return calls for comment on Friday.

Variety, quoting an unidentified source, said Sony Music had decided to “dissolve its working relationship” with Kelly, but that no external announcement would be made.

Billboard reported that the musician and the record company had agreed to part ways, citing unidentified sources. It said Kelly’s catalogue would remain with RCA. His music is still available on digital retailers and streaming services.

RCA came under renewed pressure this month to drop Kelly, best-known for the hit “I Believe I Can Fly,” in the wake of a Lifetime documentary in which multiple women, including his ex-wife, made on-camera allegations of emotional, sexual and physical abuse.

Campaigners from the #MuteRKelly pressure group delivered a petition signed by some 217,000 people to Sony headquarters in New York City earlier this week asking the record company to drop the musician.

Lady Gaga was among a number of artists who said they would no longer work with him and asked for previous collaborations to be removed from streaming services.

“Thank you @Sony and @RCARecords for your leadership in refusing to profit off the trauma of Black girls and women,” tweeted Times Up, a group campaigning against sexual harassment.

Kelly, 52, released his last album in 2016. He tweeted earlier this month that a new album was on the way.

The latest accusations in the Lifetime documentary are similar to ones made against the singer over the past 25 years. In 2008, the singer was tried and acquitted on child pornography charges in Chicago.

Separately on Friday, a former manager for the singer turned himself into authorities in Georgia, where he was wanted on a charge of making threats against one of the families that took part in the Lifetime documentary.

Slideshow (2 Images)

Henry Mason was released on bond after surrendering to an arrest warrant issued in July 2018, according to a Sheriff’s Department spokesman in Henry County, Georgia.

According to local news website the Henry Herald, Mason is accused of threatening to kill Timothy Savage, the father of one of the young women featured in the documentary.

A representative for Mason could not be reached on Friday.

Additional reporting by Lisa Richwine and Gina Cherelus; Editing by Bill Rigby

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