As of Thursday, Spotify listeners will no longer be able to bump—or accidentally bump into—any R. Kelly tracks on the site’s playlists. The move is made possible by a new policy regarding public hate content and hateful conduct, which gives the company the right to choose not to promote artists it feels have caused harm.
To be clear: R. Kelly’s music can still be found on the streaming service if one searches for it. But Spotify will no longer actively promote his music—banning R. Kelly’s catalog from all of Spotify’s editorial and algorithmic playlists. The news was first reported by Billboard.
According to the new policy, Spotify emphasizes that it won’t censor content from an artist or creator because of their behavior. But, the company writes, “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 (for example, violence against children and sexual violence), it may affect the ways we work with or support that artist or creator,” the policy states.
For more than 20 years, R. Kelly has been hit with allegations that he has targeted and had sexual relationships with underage women. Recently, multiple women have come forward to say that Kelly is running a sex cult; he’s also been accused of sexual violence and coercion by multiple women.
Recently, the Time’s Up initiative launched a #MuteRKelly campaign, outlining his alleged abuses and calling on Apple and Spotify to quit supporting the artist. The campaign was first announced on The Root.
Spotify’s new policy also outright bans hate content, which the company defines as any work 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.”
Kelly is the most prominent artist to be hit by the new policy, but Spotify acknowledged to Billboard that other artists may also be affected. The company confirmed that rapper XXXTentacion, who has been charged with beating a pregnant woman (his ex), has also been removed from Spotify’s playlists.