YouTube Bans R. Kelly Official Channel After Sex Trafficking Conviction

YouTube has confirmed it removed the official R. Kelly YouTube channel from its platform.

It is the first major platform to remove the R&B singer’s presence from the site. R. Kelly was convicted of sex trafficking by a federal jury in September. Prosecutors highlighted how the singer used his stardom and fortune to lure women into his orbit for more than 25 years.

Both RKellyTV and RKellyVEVO channels have been removed from YouTube.

YouTube says the singer will no longer be able to create or own another YouTube channel. As for his music, it will remain available to stream on YouTube Music and videos uploaded by other YouTube users will continue to be available.

“We can confirm that we have terminated two channels linked to R. Kelly in accordance with our creator responsibility guidelines,” a YouTube spokesperson told Reuters about the disappearance of the two channels. The #MuteRKelly campaign has been calling for this outcome since 2017. Now they’re pushing for Spotify, Apple Music, and other music streaming companies to do the same.

Neither Spotify nor Apple Music have issued a statement about whether R. Kelly’s music will disappear from the platform. His music has largely disappeared from radio plays, but it continues to be available across streaming services. R. Kelly also faces trial in other US states, including his hometown of Chicago.

YouTube introduced a new policy in 2018 to punish bad behavior off-platform. The policy was put into place after Logan Paul shared a video of himself finding a body in Japan’s ‘suicide forest.’ YouTube took ten days to respond to the video – causing shock and outrage among creators and users. This same policy now applies to R. Kelly due his conviction.

Creators who ’cause malicious harm to others’ or ‘participate in abuse or violence’ can have their YouTube channels deleted and their ability to create new channels revoked. YouTube’s Head of Legal, Nicole Alston, echoes this policy in her statement.

“Egregious actions committed by R. Kelly warrant penalties beyond standard enforcement measures due to a potential to cause widespread harm. Ultimately we are taking this action to protect our users, similar to other platforms.”