“No external announcement of the move is planned in the immediate future, says a source, who added that Kelly’s presence on the RCA website (where he remains listed) will not indicate his departure from the company, as his back catalog will remain with RCA/Sony,” writes Variety. Kelly’s last release with Sony was a Christmas album in 2016.
As entertainment attorney Leslie Frank explained to Variety, its not uncommon for major labels to have contracts that state if artists are “convicted of a felony or a crime of moral turpitude, generally speaking it is the label’s right to terminate the contract.”
Related: R. Kelly Hospitalized?
Important to note: Kelly has yet to be convicted of either, but hopefully a conviction isn’t far away.
“Any record company—or, really, any party to any contract—can decide they no longer want to be in the contract,” Frank continued. “The question is what can happen as a result of them asserting their desire to terminate the term of the agreement.”
Frank also explained that Kelly could technically sue for damages.
“If R. Kelly does not want to terminate the agreement and instigates a dispute saying that it’s a breach of contract by RCA, if RCA is concerned about the cost of litigation and how a court might decide, they could try to come to a settlement with R. Kelly,” she said.
Sony’s announcement comes after the airing of Surviving R. Kelly, the six-part, dream hampton-helmed Lifetime documentary that premiered earlier this month. Through exclusive interviews, the docuseries provided an unfiltered and harrowing look into R. Kelly’s past, with appearances from Tarana Burke, John Legend, Sparkle, and many others.
Since its airing, Facebook removed a page that was dedicated to discrediting his accusers, and a criminal investigation opened against Kelly in Georgia. Kelly’s estranged daughter also spoke out against him, calling him a “monster” in an Instagram Story post.
With more accusers coming forward (at least two women in Chicago contacted the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office on Jan. 9 with claims of “inappropriate conduct” against the singer, while another survivor came forward the following day), it was just a matter of time before his label took action.
Earlier today, Variety also reported that Kelly’s former manager, Henry James Mason, turned himself into Georgia authorities “on a charge of threatening a man who alleges that Kelly has indoctrinated his daughter into a sex cult.”
The Henry Herald explains that Mason allegedly threatened Timothy Savage—the father of Jocelyn Savage, who he says was brainwashed by Kelly—telling him via phone call, “I’m gonna do harm to you and your family, when I see you I’m gonna get you, I’m going to f***ing kill you.”