Streaming giant Spotify has removed all R. Kelly and XXXTentacion tracks from its playlists as part of its new policy surrounding "hate content". The first time a measure of its kind has been put into place, the platform has waged war on content that does not "reflect its values", including any music that expressly "incites hatred or violence against a group or individual".
For the moment, R. Kelly's solo and collaborative work is still available, but will no longer appear on playlists created by the streaming site's algorithm. On the other hand, tracks that he has written for other artists have not been affected. For XXXTentacion, it seems that only his most recent songs have been removed.
Both artists have been at the centre of extreme controversy in recent times. R. Kelly stands accused of multiple counts of sexual abuse against women and children in incidents said to take place over several years. The singer has also been accused of holding women in a "cult" against their own will where he brainwashes them and controls "every aspect of their lives."
The case of XXXTentacion is similarly troubling with the Florida rapper currently awaiting trial for multiple domestic abuse charges, including aggravated battery of a pregnant woman, domestic battery by strangulation, false imprisonment, and witness-tampering.
While Spotify is keen to point out that it doesn't want to "censor" artists, it goes on to explain that there are some exceptions to the rule. In a statement the platform notes:
"In some circumstances, 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."
Of course it didn't take long for R. Kelly's entourage to react. "R Kelly never has been accused of hate, and the lyrics he writes express love and desire", the singer's management said in a statement. "He is innocent of the false and hurtful accusations in the ongoing smear campaign against him, waged by enemies seeking a payoff."
XXXTentacion's management have not offered a comment but did ask whether other artists accused of wrongdoings would also be removed from Spotify's playlists.