|Entertainer R. Kelly get the ax after protests.|
Sometimes, R. Kelly can't catch a break. Since 2003, the entertainer has been in spotlight for being a nasty freak and possible child pedophile. There was a summer concert with him being a headliner act, but that was put on the back burner after protest from some women's groups. So it's a no go for Robert Sylvester Kelly.
The R. Kelly concert scheduled to open the inaugural Fashion Meets Music Festival next month in Columbus, Ohio has been canceled because of backlash over the R&B singer’s past. The Columbus Dispatch reports that some are pretty upset over the cancellation.
“We wanted to make sure we heard the Columbus listeners ... to make a statement and support the city we live in,” said festival spokeswoman Melissa Dickson, who added that a public-relations firm is helping the event repair its image.
The decision to pull Kelly’s Nationwide show on Aug. 29 came late last week after Saintseneca, a Columbus band also set to play the festival, announced plans to cancel because of Kelly’s appearance. WCBE (90.5 FM) withdrew its sponsorship shortly after.
Those departures were preceded by a local duo, Damn the Witch Siren, which on July 3 abandoned their festival appearance because of Kelly’s history, which includes a 2008 acquittal on 14 counts of child pornography and a Chicago Sun-Times investigation linking the Grammy winner to underage girls.
Still, the 47-year-old I Believe I Can Fly singer hasn’t been short on work: He headlined the Bonnaroo (Manchester, Tenn.) and Pitchfork (Chicago) festivals last summer.
But word of his planned appearance here drew almost-instant criticism.
Organizers of the Fashion Meets Music Festival, which is to take place in and around the Arena District on Aug. 29-31, issued a brief announcement last night via Facebook and Twitter to say the artist and event have “parted ways.”
Kelly’s publicist released the following statement: “R. Kelly is sorry to disappoint his fans but looks forward to seeing them in the near future during one of his upcoming tours.”
The remaining festival events and after-party shows will take place as scheduled in locations such as McFerson Commons. Performers include O.A.R., Michelle Williams of Destiny’s Child and Future Islands.
There won’t be a replacement concert in the arena.