UPDATE 15/12/18: R. Kelly says the 2019 Australian tour announcement is “fake”.
CONTENT WARNING: The following article discusses alleged sexual abuse.
A tour promoter has defended its announcement of an all-ages 2019 Australian tour from controversial R&B artist R. Kelly, despite the singer facing multiple allegations of sexual abuse.
Announced today, R. Kelly’s so-called ‘King Of R&B’ tour is scheduled to hit Brisbane’s RNA Showgrounds, Melbourne Showgrounds and Sydney’s Rose Hill Gardens in February, and tour promoter Big Music Tour has defended the announcement in a statement to Music Feeds.
“We can confirm we are bringing R. Kelly to Australia. Our focus remains on his incredible music and bringing the show to his Australian and New Zealand fans,” the company said.
“Mr Kelly was cleared of all allegations and in our view, you are innocent until proven guilty.”
R. Kelly is also due to perform in Auckland, New Zealand at the end of the tour, and parts of the internet haven’t reacted to positively to news he’s coming down under:
So R Kelly is "apparently" coming next year…but Tyler isn't allowed into the country? Because that makes sense.
— Hit Up Ange (@HitUpAnge) December 13, 2018
R Kelly is coming and Tyler ain't allowed in the country – get the actual f outta here.
— DJ Sir-Vere (O.N.Z.M) (@djsirvere) December 13, 2018
Which dick promoter is bringing R Kelly to NZ? How stupid can you be…
— Sam Smith (@sgowsmith1988) December 13, 2018
Kelly, who was accused of abuse, transmitting a sexual disease and false imprisonment in a lawsuit filed against him in May, has also faced a boycott campaign backed by the ‘Time’s Up’ movement, amid allegations of sexual misconduct, including with underaged women.
While the Australian Government has previously prevented a number of musicians from touring down under by denying them a visa, it’s unclear if R. Kelly has already secured his visa. Music Feeds has contacted Big Music Tour for comment.
Kelly has previously been accused of running an “abusive sex cult” and of imprisoning women in his homes, but has denied all of the allegations which have been made against him.
In July he released a new 19-minute song called ‘I Admit’, in which he admitted he has been with “older and younger [ladies]” in the past and has “made some mistakes”, but denied allegations of sexual misconduct.
Kelly also claimed in the song that he was the victim of sexual abuse as a child.
In May this year, Spotify removed Kelly’s music from its curated playlists as part of its ‘hate content and hateful conduct’ policy.