Brow Beat

The Daily Show’s Roy Wood Jr. Has a Problem With the Way the News Covers R. Kelly

Roy Wood Jr. makes a cartoonish face of disgust.
It’s difficult to tell from Wood’s subtle facial expressions how he feels about R. Kelly. Comedy Central

The Lifetime documentary miniseries Surviving R. Kelly has made it impossible to ignore allegations that Kelly has been committing consequence-free sexual abuse for years and years, which is a problem for people who have found it convenient to ignore them in the past. The Daily Show’s Roy Wood Jr. thinks he’s figured out why Kelly has successfully weathered damning accusations for so long. It has to do with TV news:

There’s probably something to Wood’s theory about the counterproductive effects of playing R. Kelly’s music when reporting on R. Kelly. Unfortunately, his other theory of the case probably accounts for much more of the discrepancy between the way R. Kelly has been treated compared to other artists accused of sexual misconduct:

I think the only reason he’s been getting away with this as long as he has is because he was doing it to black girls. I mean, he married Aaliyah when she was 15, and nothing happened. If he even thought about marrying that little baldheaded girl from Stranger Things, America would be like, “I believe you can fly your ass to prison.” 

Wood’s not wrong about how the country would react if an older artist pursued Millie Bobby Brown, and unfortunately, he’s not wrong about the underlying reason people covered their ears when allegations about R. Kelly started going around. The least we can do now is cover our ears when his music’s playing.