Madison Square Garden quietly announced that R. Kelly would be performing at the venue’s Hulu Theatre in the fall, but the news got louder on Monday, Aug. 13 and now MSG is defending the decision.
Kelly’s show, which is scheduled for Sept. 15, was posted on the New York City venue’s website, RCA Records’ site, which is the singer’s label, and ticket websites like Ticketmaster.
The development comes after Kelly’s ex-wife, Drea Kelly, wrote a scathing remix to his 19-minute song, “I Admit,” in which the vocalist tackles allegations that he has trapped women as underage teens in his “sex cult.”
In Drea’s remix, she wrote, “Admit it… Your children you don’t see… Because you treat them like your fans… And not your flesh and blood, please… Being a deadbeat dad is a conscious choice…Admit it… Admit it… Admit it… Your past is not is an excuse… Just because you were abused… doesn’t mean you get to ABUSE.”
When pressed for comment from websites like Variety and Spin, Madison Square Garden maintained it does not restrict artists.
“MSG has a long history of not censoring performers. We believe artists have the right to rent our venues to put on their own event, and that the public then has the choice whether or not to support that event.”
However, there are venues who have bent to the pressure of #MuteRKelly, a social media campaign stemming from the Time’s Up movement that has pushed for radio stations to stop playing the “I’m a Flirt” singer’s music. Plus, Time’s Up has also called for concert arenas to cancel Kelly’s shows, including one in May in Greensboro, North Carolina. That came over a year after Georgia’s Fulton County Board of Commissioners sent a letter to concert promoter Live Nation to request that an Atlanta concert was halted.