Festival Drops R. Kelly From Lineup After Protests

"Fashion Meets Music Festival] and R. Kelly have decided to part ways. We appreciate the ongoing support of our Festival partners and look forward to kicking things off next month."

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Cindy Barrymore

    A music and fashion festival in Columbus, Ohio, has dumped R. Kelly from its lineup following protests of the controversial Chicago native by locals and artists. 

    "[Fashion Meets Music Festival] and R. Kelly have decided to part ways," organizers of the inaugural festival said in a statement Monday. "We appreciate the ongoing support of our Festival partners and look forward to kicking things off next month."

    Kelly was supposed to perform on the first day of the three-day Labor Day weekend event, but fans took to the Fashion Meets Music Festival's social media accounts to show their distaste for his legal history, citing child pornography charges that haunted him for years.

    Kelly, accused in 2002 of filming sex with a girl believed to be 13 years old, was acquitted in Chicago of the charges in 2008. Despite the acquittal, the music community in Columbus questioned the message Kelly's presence sends.

    "Why would one attend or sponsor this event when a Google search of performer R Kelly indicates exploits of children from as far back as 2002?" one person wrote on the festival's Facebook page.

    "The inclusion of R. Kelly in this festival is a shame - by promoting him as part of your event, you are condoning his horrifying behavior. Columbus deserves better than this, and I ask you to reconsider," another person wrote.

    A statement from Kelly's publicist apologized for disappointing fans and noted the singer "looks forward to seeing them in the near future during one of his upcoming tours."

    Kelly headlined the Pitchfork Music Festival in 2013 and was featured in Lady Gaga's single, "Do What U Want" last year.

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