Spotify has removed R. Kelly and XXXTentacion from their playlists as part of the streaming giant’s new “hate content and hateful conduct” policy.
“We are removing R. Kelly’s music from all Spotify owned and operated playlists and algorithmic recommendations such as Discover Weekly,” a Spotify representative told Billboard. “His music will still be available on the service, but Spotify will not actively promote it. We don’t censor content because of an artist’s or creator’s behavior, but we want our editorial decisions — what we choose to program — to reflect our values. When an artist or creator does something that is especially harmful or hateful, it may affect the ways we work with or support that artist or creator.”
This is part of a new Spotify initiative. “We do not tolerate hate content on Spotify — content that expressly and principally promotes, advocates, or incites hatred or violence against a group or individual based on characteristics, including, race, religion, gender identity, sex, ethnicity, nationality, sexual orientation, veteran status, or disability,” the company said.
Moreover, Spotify said it will analyze musicians as part of the campaign. “We’ve also thought long and hard about how to handle content that is not hate content itself, but is principally made by artists or other creators who have demonstrated hateful conduct personally,” they added.
In addition to R. Kelly, XXXTentacion, who is facing charges including aggravated battery of a pregnant woman and witness tampering, was also removed from Spotify’s playlists including the popular Rap Caviar playlist, according to The New York Times.
In order to carry out the new initiative, Spotify teamed up with several advocacy groups, including The Southern Poverty Law Center, The Anti-Defamation League, Color Of Change, Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ), GLAAD, Muslim Advocates, and the International Network Against Cyber Hate.
Additionally, the company kicked off its Spotify AudioWatch tool, which monitors and identities hate content. Plus, it will continue to revise its policy across the platform.
The news comes shortly after Time’s Up announced its #MuteRKelly campaign. The organization called “on those who profit from his music to cut ties” following abuse allegations leveled against Kelly. Today, Time’s Up celebrated Spotify’s move. “Thank you @Spotify for your leadership,” they said via Twitter.
Kelly has not yet addressed Spotify’s decision, but the singer’s camp previously criticized the Time’s Up campaign. “We fully support the rights of women to be empowered to make their own choices,” the statement continues. “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,” they add. “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.”