Lifetime’s unsettling expose Surviving R. Kelly busted down the door of R. Kelly’s meticulously impenetrable fortress and unearthed a plethora of horrific secrets that dates back decades. It hasn’t even been a full month since the docu-series aired and the pressure has only mounted.
More and more survivors have stepped forward to detail recounts of physical, sexual and mental abuse, the FBI is closing in on his potential crimes, and Robert has even been dropped by his label, Sony/RCA, in spite of reports stating the departure was mutual.
Now, following the stride of many industry counterparts who’ve explicitly muted him and some who’ve taken their actions further by snatching their collaborative work with Robert off of streaming platforms, it seems radio hosts and DJs are joining the #MuteRKelly movement.
In an exclusive report from BuzzFeed News, several radio workers divulged why it's necessary to mute the Pied Piper.
Jackson felt seeing the survivors' faces and hearing the same story told different ways was "describing an MO of how he operates" and labeled Robert's actions as "pimp-like quality." Not long after, he removed a plaque given to him by Robert himself at a National Black Programmers Coalition, and it was revealed that neither of Jackson’s radio stations, KRRQ 95.5 and KNEK 104.3, in Lafayette, Louisiana, play the sexual predator’s music.
Last year, during the budding stages of #MuteRKelly, Tarana Burke, founder of #MeToo, was accused of “not doing enough to bring R. Kelly down.” Burke responded by saying that his die-hard following have kept him “wealthy” enough to support his lifestyle and called out urban radio shows like the Tom Joyner Morning Show who’ve played his music for years, regardless of circumstance.
For Jackson, it was a matter of internal reflection. “Do we care about women? Do we care about our audience? That’s where I am as a program director,” he said. New York-based DJ Olivia Dope admitted that she stopped incorporating Robert’s music in her sets on the brink of his sex-cult allegations coming to light but regretted that it didn’t happen sooner. Skip Dillard, an operations manager at WBLS and WLIB in New York City, slowly extracted Robert’s music from the radio stations’ rotations but ceased completely amid backlash from Black female listeners.
Also, a BuzzFeed News report revealed that two popular Dallas radio stations and even 95.1, a popular Chicago-based radio station, stopped playing Robert's music. Others felt it wasn't their place to hold Robert accountable for his actions.
Check out the eye-opening BuzzFeed News report in its entirety.
(Photo: Raymond Boyd/Getty Images)