R Kelly: backlash as singer announces Australia tour

Singer R Kelly has announced a new tour of Australia, New Zealand and Sri Lanka, sparking widespread criticism in light of abuse allegations against him.

The R&B star posted his plans on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, but later deleted the posts.

The proposed concerts would come on the heels of a documentary detailing decades of alleged sexual abuse by the artist.

Local politicians have called for him to be barred from entering Australia.

On Tuesday, the 52-year old Grammy-winner tweeted “NEW TOUR ALERT”, but without giving concrete dates of when he would play, and where.

On Twitter, many expressed anger and said the singer wouldn’t be welcome in their countries.

‘Physical and emotional abuse’

R Kelly has not been convicted of any crimes in connection with the abuse claims.

The allegations against him were aired in a January documentary, Surviving R Kelly, which featured detailed accounts of his alleged physical and emotional abuse of women.

It claimed the R&B star ran an “abusive cult” in which he is accused of keeping women captive against their wills.

Following the allegations, numerous former music industry colleagues spoke out against R Kelly, and protesters called for a ban on his music and concerts.

A protester holding a #muteRKelly banner
Demonstrators hold a protest near to R Kelly’s studio. Image Copyright: Getty Images

This is not the first report of a planned R Kelly tour to Australia.

In December, confusion arose when the singer disputed a similar announcement by a tour company, calling it fake news.

At the time, New Zealand victims’ advocate Ruth Money and the non-profit group Women’s Refuge called for the singer to be banned from performing.

“Popular culture has an immense amount to do with shaping the way people think and the way people behave, and the sort of role models that we hold up, particularly to our young people,” she said.

Australia could deny visa

Australia’s opposition Labor party released a statement saying the singer should not be permitted to enter the country.

“Labor strongly supports the refusal or cancellation of visas of non-citizens on character or criminal grounds,”

the document said.

Australia’s department of home affairs told the BBC it “does not comment on individual cases”, but Australia has previously barred entry to people in similar situations.

Boxer Floyd Mayweather was denied a visa over family violence convictions. Rapper Chris Brown also had his visa denied based on his history of domestic violence.

And in 2014, the country cancelled a visa for US “pick-up artist” Julien Blanc, citing his derogatory views on women.

First Published 06.02.19: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-australia-47140540

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