R.Kelly Pulled From Festival Lineup After Protests

Following weeks of protests, organisers of the Fashion Meets Music Festival in Columbus, Ohio have parted ways with controversial R&B singer R. Kelly, who was slated to headline the inaugural event this August.

“Fashion Meets Music Festival and headlining artist R. Kelly have come to the mutual decision to cancel Kelly’s upcoming performance at the inaugural Fashion Meets Music Festival,” reads a joint statement from the event and R.Kelly’s management.

“R. Kelly is sorry to disappoint his fans, but looks forward to seeing them in the near future during one of his upcoming tours,” added Kelly’s publicist. The decision comes just a week after US folk rock band Saintseneca announced they would be pulling out of the festival, citing Kelly’s troubled legal history and accusations of possessing child pornography.

“We feel his selection as a performer ignores his very serious allegations of sexual violence and assault,” explained the band in their statement. “We feel it is an affront to all survivors, who are already often overlooked and forgotten in our society.”

Electronic duo Damn the Witch Siren also pulled out of the event after publishing an open letter imploring the organisers to re-examine their choice. Additionally, reports Columbus Alive, radio station WCBE ended its sponsorship of Fashion Meets Music Festival based partly on feedback from listeners.

The festival organisers say they have no plans to replace Kelly on the bill, which is now headlined by the likes of O.A.R., Michelle Williams, Cold War Kids, Future Islands and Local Natives. The local music scene has responded positively to the news.

“We don’t know all the details of this turn of events or what we’ll be doing next, but we do know that we’ve never been so proud to be part of the Columbus community,” wrote Nathan Photos of Damn the Witch Siren in an email to Columbus Alive. “We live in an incredible, intelligent, compassionate city, and we hope this sets an example and starts a dialogue throughout the entire country.”

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