YouTube removes R. Kelly official channels after conviction

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R&B singer R. Kelly, pictured in court in Illinois in 2019, was convicted of operating a sex crimes ring that saw him abuse women and children for decades in September (AFP/Nuccio DINUZZO)

YouTube on Wednesday said it removed two official channels belonging to singer R. Kelly, who was recently convicted of operating a sex crimes ring that saw him abuse women and children for decades.

"We have terminated two channels linked to R. Kelly in accordance with our creator responsibility guidelines," a YouTube spokesperson told AFP in a statement.

The "I Believe I Can Fly" singer, who for years reigned over the world of R&B, still has music available on YouTube music, where 137,000 people subscribe to the disgraced star, and third-party uploads of his songs are still allowed.

The removal follows years of protest from the #MuteRKelly movement. Long before the singer was indicted in four separate jurisdictions, the effort called to ban his music over long-standing abuse allegations.

His catalogue is still available on major platforms, including Spotify, Apple Music and Amazon Music.

Kelly, 54, was found guilty in September of nine criminal counts, including the most serious of racketeering, following six weeks of disturbing testimony accusing him of systematically recruiting women and teenagers for sex, before grooming and brutally abusing them.

He is currently incarcerated and faces up to life in prison, with his sentencing hearing scheduled for May 4.

Kelly is also slated for prosecution in three other jurisdictions, including Illinois federal court.

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