Chicago radio station pulls R. Kelly music in wake of ‘Surviving R. Kelly’ docuseries

“To hear and see the pain and suffering that is real for so many, effective immediately, we will no longer play the music of R. Kelly,” said the station’s CEO.

By Elisha Fieldstadt

A Chicago radio station has said it will no longer play R. Kelly’s music after a docuseries brought renewed attention to sexual misconduct allegations against the R&B singer.

LaMont Watts, the CEO of Clubsteppin 95.1 FM announced Wednesday that the station would stop playing all songs by R. Kelly in light of “Surviving R. Kelly,” a Lifetime series that aired last week which chronicles decades of the singer’s alleged sexual misconduct.

“As a leader of a team where women contribute unselfishly in a business where a majority of our audience is women. … And to hear and see the pain and suffering that is real for so many, effective immediately, we will no longer play the music of R. Kelly,” Watts said in an audio statement posted to Facebook.

“While everyone must be afforded their right to due process — innocent until proven guilty — we must protect our women at all times. In that, we must not waver or compromise,” Watts added.

Watts told the Chicago Sun Times that he’s heard mixed reaction from listeners, from gratitude to threats of boycotts.

“The intent of my actions is to support women everywhere, in their healing from abuse,” Watts wrote in a statement Thursday. “As Christians, we are called to stand when it is inconvenient or unpopular to do so, even if the people won’t or don’t know to stand for themselves.”

“Surviving R. Kelly,” which aired last week on Lifetime, includes more than 50 interviews from women who accuse Kelly, 52, of mental, physical and sexual abuse, as well as interviews with associates and relatives of the singer.

Kelly has denied all wrongdoing, and he has never been convicted. NBC News has reached out to him repeatedly since the airing of the docuseries but has only been able to speak to his lawyer, Steven Greenberg.

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