YouTube Removes R. Kelly Channels After Singer’s Sex Trafficking Conviction

YouTube permanently suspended two channels of disgraced R&B singer R. Kelly, who was found guilty of sex trafficking last week, and will not allow him to create any new channels going forward.

But YouTube hasn’t banned Kelly’s music: The internet video giant will continue to offer the singer’s music catalog on YouTube Music.

On Tuesday, YouTube removed the two channels — RKellyTV (which had 3.5 million subscribers) and RKellyVevo (which had about 1.6 million subscribers) — citing a violation of its terms of service. Attempts to watch videos on the now-removed channels displays a message that says, “This video is no longer available because the YouTube account associated with this video has been terminated.”

“Egregious actions committed by R. Kelly warrant penalties beyond standard enforcement measures due to a potential to cause widespread harm,” YouTube VP of legal Nicole Alston wrote in a memo, as reported by Bloomberg. “Ultimately we are taking this action to protect our users similar to other platforms.”

YouTube’s move to delete Kelly’s channels comes eight days after a federal jury found him guilty of racketeering and eight charges of an anti-sex trafficking law. Kelly is set to be sentenced May 4, 2022. The 54-year-old faces 10 years to life in prison.

YouTube said it pulled down the channels linked to R. Kelly in accordance with its “creator responsibility guidelines” That policy prohibits “on- and/or off-platform behavior that we may consider to be inappropriate,” including “intending to cause malicious harm to others” and “participating in abuse or violence, demonstrating cruelty, or participating in fraudulent/deceptive behavior leading to real-world harm.”

Kelly on Sept. 27 was found guilty of leading a decades-long scheme to recruit women and underage girls for sex. The verdict came 13 years after Kelly was acquitted of child pornography charges in Illinois, where he is facing additional charges.

Kelly’s longtime label, Sony Music’s RCA Records, parted ways with the singer in January 2019 after months of criticism. However, nearly his entire catalog remains with the label and is still available on major music-streaming services.

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