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Spotify removes R Kelly & XXXTentacion from playlists

R Kelly

Spotify has posted a new Hate Content & Hateful Conduct policy, which, among other things, states, “When an artist or creator does something that is especially harmful or hateful (for example, violence against children and sexual violence), it may affect the ways we work with or support that artist or creator.”

As of today (5/10), that includes Spotify’s new decision to no longer include the music of R. Kelly on any editorial or algorithmic playlists. Spotify told Billboard: “We are removing R. Kelly’s music from all Spotify owned and operated playlists and algorithmic recommendations such as Discover Weekly. His music will still be available on the service, but Spotify will not actively promote it. We don’t censor content because of an artist’s or creator’s behavior, but we want our editorial decisions — what we choose to program — to reflect our values.”

R. Kelly has faced allegations of sexual abuse for years and he continues to. Last week, two more women accused him of abuse. R. Kelly recently called the #MuteRKelly campaign against him “attempted public lynching.”

Here is more information from Spotify’s new policy:

Spotify is a platform for artistic expression, exploration, and inspiration. We believe in openness, diversity, tolerance and respect, and we want to promote those values through music and the creative arts. This policy is designed to do that, consistent with our distinct roles in music and media — from distribution to promotion to co-creation. That’s why we do not permit hate content on Spotify, and remove it whenever we find it.

What do we consider “hate content?” Hate content is content that expressly and principally promotes, advocates, or incites hatred or violence against a group or individual based on characteristics, including, race, religion, gender identity, sex, ethnicity, nationality, sexual orientation, veteran status, or disability.

At the same time, however, it’s important to remember that cultural standards and sensitivities vary widely. That means there will always be content that is acceptable in some circumstances, but is offensive in others, and we will always look at the entire context.

What if content violates our policy? When we are alerted to content that violates our policy, we may remove it (in consultation with rights holders) or refrain from promoting or manually programming it on our service.

What about hateful conduct by an artist? We don’t censor content because of an artist’s or creator’s behavior, but we want our editorial decisions – what we choose to program – to reflect our values. When an artist or creator does something that is especially harmful or hateful (for example, violence against children and sexual violence), it may affect the ways we work with or support that artist or creator.

According to Billboard, “Kelly is the only artist that Spotify specifically acknowledged would fall under this new public policy, though others may also be affected.”

UPDATE: The New York Times reports that actually XXXTentacion was removed too:

A representative for Spotify said that in addition to R. Kelly, the chart-topping rapper and singer XXXTentacion, who is facing charges in Florida that include aggravated battery of a pregnant woman and witness tampering, was also removed from playlists as of Thursday. As recently as Wednesday, XXXTentacion was featured on the popular Rap Caviar playlist.

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