R Kelly Dropped from Ohio Music Festival
Singer R Kelly has been dropped from the Ohio music festival after concerns about a past court appearance for possessing child pornography.
The star was due to headline Ohio’s Fashion Meets Music, but his withdrawal was reached “by mutual decision”.
A local radio station also ceased its event sponsorship because Columbus schools are licence stakeholders.
R Kelly was acquitted in 2008 of 14 child pornography charges.
He was cleared of making a video which allegedly showed him having sex with a 13-year-old girl.
Organisers of next month’s inaugural event said: “Fashion Meets Music Festival and headlining artist R Kelly have come to the mutual decision to cancel Kelly’s upcoming performance at the inaugural Fashion Meets Music Festival.”
The singer’s representatives added he was “sorry to disappoint his fans” but said they would be able to see him on a forthcoming tour.
The event’s communications director Melissa Dickson said of their decision: “The festival has taken a lot of heat, and we really just wanted to listen to Columbus and really take a stance and move forward.”
Columbus station WCBE voiced their disquiet at his presence at the festival, saying concerns had been expressed by listeners and school licence holders alike.
General manager Dan Mushalko told Columbus Alive: “Obviously, since they represent children and they represent teenagers, they didn’t want us associated with the event if R Kelly was a part of it.
“So whether you looked at it from our internal ethics, or the feedback from our listeners and the school district, it came down to everything saying, ‘You just can’t do it.'”
Other festival acts also voiced their concern at R Kelly’s presence on the bill, with folk band Saintseneca choosing not to attend.
R Kelly had been due to perform on 29 August and is not expected to be replaced by an alternative act.