Statement by NOW President Toni Van Pelt, NOW Combatting Racism Chair Christian Nunes and New York State-NOW President Sonia Osorio:
WASHINGTON – For decades, R. Kelly has abused, exploited and endangered young Black girls. The Lifetime documentary series Surviving R. Kelly has provided chilling and appalling detail, and brought into focus a key question—why does the music industry enable a man who does monstrous things to women? Executives should ask themselves how they’d feel if the young girls R. Kelly has abused were their own daughters. Would they continue to protect him at the expense of his victims?
Through our, Enough Is Enough campaign, NOW is working to change the culture of sexual harassment and sexual assault. There is no room in our society for artists like R. Kelly who use their success and celebrity to exploit and abuse women and young girls of color. And our society must no longer allow this culture of abuse to continue happening in plain sight, with men like R. Kelly allowed to provide “entertainment” despite their own vile and even criminal personal conduct. We cannot make excuses and we cannot look the other way.
Artists have a powerful platform they can use to promote justice, equality, fairness, and human decency. When they abuse that platform, society should reject, condemn and prosecute them.
NOW demands that RCA Records and their parent company, Sony, drop R. Kelly immediately. By keeping R. Kelly on their label, RCA is telling the public that the safety and protection of young Black girls is secondary to financial gain. We must ensure that Black girls and women are empowered and protected from the abuse of celebrity and power. This is why we are calling on RCA Records to act now.
NOW Press, firstname.lastname@example.org, 202-628-8669