Sony/RCA has faced significant pressure to drop R. Kelly, the R&B singer who is signed to the label and has faced numerous allegations of sexual and psychological abuse since 2000. The claims are back in the spotlight thanks to Lifetime's documentary miniseries Surviving R. Kelly, and a new report in TMZ claims the renewed controversy has forced the label to the release of any new R. Kelly music "on hold."
Kelly reportedly continues to record new music to fulfill his contract with Sony/RCA, which requires two new projects. However, sources tell TMZ that the company is refusing to produce new music, pay for its recording, or release it at least until Kelly's criminal investigations are resolved – since the release of Surviving R. Kelly, authorities in Georgia have opened a sexual misconduct probe and the State Attorney in Chicago has asked victims and witnesses to come forward.
TMZ's report floats the possibility of an amicable separation between Sony/RCA and Kelly, who is allegedly upset that the label is not backing him. It is unknown whether or not Kelly's record deal has a "morals clause" that would allow the label to drop him due to the allegations without being sued.
Since the airing of Surviving R. Kelly, artists like Chance The Rapper and Lady Gaga have apologized for collaborating with Kelly, and his estranged daughter Buku Abi posted a statement on Instagram last week calling him "a monster." On January 12, Kelly denied all allegations of sexual abuse through a lawyer.
The FADER has reached out to Sony/RCA for comment.