R. Kelly won't be playing Columbus, Ohio, festival
There was a backlash on social media over his appearance
Kelly was acquitted of child pornography charges in 2008
He had been accused of videotaping sex with a minor
An R. Kelly concert appearance in Columbus, Ohio, has been canceled after protests.
Kelly was scheduled to perform at the Fashion Meets Music Festival, scheduled for Labor Day weekend in the Ohio capital. But after a backlash on social media, the festival decided to drop the controversial singer, the festival’s communications director, Melissa Dickson, said in a statement.
“The people of Columbus didn’t feel that R. Kelly’s reputation was reflective of their community, and took to social media to adamantly express their opinions. FMMF heard their concerns and took action,” Dickson said.
“We wanted to celebrate the already thriving fashion and music communities in Columbus and produce a festival the city would be proud to call (its) own. The motto of FMMF is ‘Three Days, Two Loves, One Place’ and we recognized that the ‘One Place’ needed to be heard.”
Kelly’s publicist released a statement to USA Today: “R. Kelly is sorry to disappoint his fans but looks forward to seeing them in the near future during one of his upcoming tours.”
Kelly, best known for his hit song “I Believe I Can Fly,” has been the target of some protest since being accused of videotaping sex with a minor in the early 2000s. In 2008, Kelly was acquitted on 14 counts of making child pornography.
The accusations received wider coverage last year in the wake of Kelly’s latest CD, “Black Panties,” when The Village Voice ran a lengthy interview with former Chicago Sun-Times music critic Jim DeRogatis, who had worked on a series for the newspaper about lawsuits against the singer.
Some visitors to the festival’s Facebook page welcomed the concert news.
“There are plenty of other artists still playing…quality artists. This is not a loss,” one commenter wrote.
But others were disappointed, noting Kelly had performed at other festivals.
“Show is canceled, it is what it is!!! And yes I will be getting my money back for the tickets I purchased!!!” said another.
Other acts playing the festival include O.A.R., Michelle Williams, Cold War Kids and Rusko.
CNN’s Carolyn Sung contributed to this story.