R. Kelly

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Spotify Drops R. Kelly and XXXTentacion From Its Playlists in Policy Update

May 10, 2018

By Erin Thibeau


A Spotify representative tells the New York Times that in addition to R. Kelly, XXXTentacion was also dropped from playlists as of Thursday. The rapper and singer is facing charges in Florida that include aggravated battery of a pregnant woman and witness tampering. The Times notes that as recently as Wednesday, XXXTentacion was one of the artists featured on Spotify's popular Rap Caviar playlist.


Spotify has removed R. Kelly's music from all of its own playlists, such as RapCaviar, and algorithmic recommendations, such as Discover Weekly. The move went into effect on Thursday, May 10, under the terms of the streaming platform's new "Hate Content and Hateful Conduct" policy.

Related: R. Kelly Kept 14-Year-Old Girl as 'Pet' in 'Sex Dungeon'

The decision comes amid the #MuteRKelly movement, which began after the recent wave of allegations of sexual violence and coercion. On May 4, BuzzFeed published the accounts of two more women, who accused the rapper of underage sexual abuse in the 1990s and keeping a "brainwashed" woman in a "cult" today.

"His music will still be available on the service, but Spotify will not actively promote it," Spotify told Billboard in a statement. "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."

The new policy defines hate content as that which "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."

However, the international company acknowledges, "cultural standards and sensitivities vary widely" so it will "always look at the entire context."

Spotify says it's impossible to manually review all of the content on the platform, so the company uses a system of three "overlapping 'nets' to catch potentiallly hateful content and evaluate it." These are: content monitoring technology, partnerships with rights advocacy groups, and users' help. Listeners can complete a form to report hateful content so Spotify can review the claim.

Read more at Billboard.

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