R. Kelly has been dropped from the Fashion Meets Music Festival in Columbus, Ohio, after two bands previously abandoned their performance slots when he was announced as a performer in June.
Ohio bands Saintseneca and Damn the Witch Siren chose to leave the festival, slated for August 29 to August 31, citing past allegations leveled at R. Kelly, including sexual assault. Though the “Ignition” singer was eventually found not guilty of child pornography charges in a widely publicized 2008 trial, earlier accusations of sexual assault against Kelly were revived in an exhaustive Village Voice post last year.
Saintseneca plan to hold a benefit for sexual assault victims as a counter concert. They wrote on their site at the time: “We feel his selection as a performer ignores his very serious allegations of sexual violence and assault. We feel it is an affront to all survivors, who are already often overlooked and forgotten in our society.”
The concert’s founders initially defended their choice to book Kelly as headliner, saying he filled the R&B void they had in the lineup and that he had a legally clear record.
“He was not convicted of anything. He was acquitted,” FMMF cofounder Bret Adams had told Columbus Alive in June. “If we wanted to limit our artists to people who never had brushes with the law or were not good people, then you can eliminate quite a few across the board. We’re running a festival to help brand the city of Columbus. We’re not the morality police.”
“R. Kelly is sorry to disappoint his fans, but looks forward to seeing them in the near future during one of his upcoming tours.”