R. Kelly did not stay #Muted for very long. Just hours after the Time’s Up movement endorsed a social media campaign demanding that companies affiliated with Kelly cut ties over the sexual misconduct allegations against him, the R&B singer’s management issued a statement in response. Via Variety:
R. Kelly supports the pro-women goals of the Time’s Up movement. We understand criticizing a famous artist is a good way to draw attention to those goals—and in this case, it is unjust and off-target.
We fully support the rights of women to be empowered to make their own choices. Time’s Up has neglected to speak with any of the women who welcome R. Kelly’s support, and it has rushed to judgment without the facts. Soon it will become clear Mr. Kelly is the target of a greedy, conscious and malicious conspiracy to demean him, his family and the women with whom he spends his time.
Kelly’s music is a part of American and African-American culture that should never—and will never—be silenced. Since America was born, black men and women have been lynched for having sex or for being accused of it. We will vigorously resist this attempted public lynching of a black man who has made extraordinary contributions to our culture.
It’s worth noting that it was Time’s Up’s Women of Color committee that led the charge against Kelly on Monday. In terms of public responses to sexual abuse allegations, the statement from Kelly’s team blows “but he’s just an old dinosaur learning new ways” out of the water.