R. Kelly apologizes to fans after he's dropped from UIC Pavilion concert lineup following protests
The #MuteRKelly protests seem to have worked. According to a note posted to Ticketmaster’s website last Friday, the Pied Piper “is no longer performing” in Chicago on May 5 for the UIC Pavilion’s Pre-Mother’s Day Love Jam concert.
While Ticketmaster did not immediately respond to EW’s request for comment, Kelly confirmed on Twitter Sunday that his hometown concert has been canceled. “First of all, I want to apologize to all of my fans in Chicago, and basically all around the world wherever I’m performing at and they canceled me,” he said. “I don’t know why they canceled the show. I never heard of a show being canceled because of rumors, but I guess there’s a first time for everything. So I apologize to you guys and in the meantime, I’m going to try to get to the bottom line of it, you know, as far as my lawyers are concerned, and see exactly what happened and why I was canceled.”
The concert would have marked Kelly’s first performance in his hometown since BuzzFeed News published a report in July that claimed the R&B singer kept women in a “cult” at his Chicago and Atlanta homes, allegedly controlling “every aspect of their lives.”
A statement released by Kelly’s lawyer at the time read, “Mr. Robert Kelly is both alarmed and disturbed at the recent revelations attributed to him. Mr. Kelly unequivocally denies such allegations and will work diligently and forcibly to pursue his accusers and clear his name.”
Kelly subsequently posted a video to social media to further deny the claims. “I just want to let all of my fans out there know that, despite all of the crap y’all hearing, I will be coming to the East Coast to do my show — and believe me, y’all, it’s a bunch of crap,” he said.
Since then, Jerhonda Pace, came forward with allegations that she had a sexual relationship with the “Trapped in the Closet” singer when she was 16 and was trained by a woman to “please him.” Former Dallas radio DJ Kitti Jones, an ex of Kelly’s, detailed years of alleged abuse and, in a BBC documentary, said she was “one of his pets” in a “sex dungeon.”
“Mr. Kelly is aware of the repeated and now evolving claims of [Ms. Jones],” Kelly’s lawyer told Rolling Stone, which published the initial profile on Jones. “It is unfortunate that Ms. Jones, after public statements to the contrary, is now attempting to portray a relationship history with Mr. Kelly as anything other than consensual involvement between two adults. As stated previously, Mr. Kelly does not control the decision-making or force the actions of any other human being, including Ms. Jones, by her own admission. Any claim of wrongdoing of any kind or of mistreatment of any woman by him is false, ill-motived and defamatory.”
A petition signed by 1,300 students at the University of Illinois in Chicago called for the cancellation of Kelly’s concert on May 5, citing “overwhelming public evidence of [Kelly’s] history of sexual misconduct.” The letter, co-written by Natalie Bennett of the Women’s Leadership and Resource Center at UIC, was to be sent to UIC Chancellor Michael Amiridis upon reaching 1,500 signatures.
“Thank you for making your voice heard,” a note posted to the Women’s Leadership and Resource Center Facebook page reads. “It is official – R Kelly will not be performing at UIC on May 5. This is a victory for all of us, but especially for Black women and girls!”