Alyssa Milano Calls for Accountability, Rehabilitation ‘Protocol’ Amid John Lasseter Backlash

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Amid a growing backlash against the hiring of former Pixar boss John Lasseter at Skydance Animation, Alyssa Milano is calling on leading women’s advocacy groups to come together and figure out how to hold abusers accountable while also allowing for the possibility of rehabilitation.

“We have to start figuring out how to hold people accountable and shape what that looks like within the industry and then allow them to prove that they are rehabilitated,” the actress and #MeToo activist told TheWrap in an exclusive interview. “We cannot strip people of their livelihoods.”

“As long as companies are going into this with ironclad contracts that don’t allow for any misconduct, people should be given an opportunity to prove themselves and to work their way back into their industry and to society,” she added.

But, Milano was careful to be clear that rehabilitation isn’t something that should be offered to violent offenders. “The realistic approach is, someone had complaints, he has clearly abused his authority, what are we going to do to make sure he knows that’s not going to happen here and we won’t allow that to happen and make sure he’s aware of that.  As long as it’s not a violent criminal offense,” she said.

Also Read: John Lasseter Named Head of Skydance Animation After Disney Exit Over Misconduct Accusations

In 2017, multiple women accused Lasseter, the most powerful man in animation at the time, of frequently making a habit of “grabbing, kissing, making comments about physical attributes” of women at the company. Lasseter apologized for what he called “missteps” that left some female employees feeling “disrespected or uncomfortable.” He then took a leave of absence from Disney but never returned, announcing in June that he would retire instead.

Variety reported this week that Lasseter’s new contract with Skydance Media contained special “ironclad” provisions that would make him financially responsible for any legal claims involving sexual harassment. But the details of the contract are unknown.

“John is a singular creative and executive talent whose impact on the animation industry cannot be overstated,” David Ellison, Skydance’s CEO, said in a statement Wednesday. “And yet we did not enter into this decision lightly. John has acknowledged and apologized for his mistakes, and, during the past year away from the workplace, has endeavored to address and reform them.”

Also Read: Read Skydance CEO David Ellison’s Note to Staff About Hiring John Lasseter

But the statement did little to quell the anger from several women advocacy groups, including TimesUp and Women in Film.

TimesUp said his hiring “endorses and perpetuates a broken system that allows powerful men to act without consequence.”

And in a statement, WIF said: “For women in this industry to feel safe, we need more transparency than the above statement and we need to know what the company plans to do to ensure that safety. By saying Skydance has conducted an independent investigation and then proceed to hire Lasseter, do they mean to suggest that they are hiring him in spite of the numerous accounts of women and colleagues? We do think that people can learn and change, and we look forward to men who model this, but true reparation requires transparency.”

According to Milano the industry has to find a more practical approach to rehiring men accused of abuse.

“There are a lot of gray areas,” she said. “This isn’t only black and white. I think within the gray area is where the most growth and the most precedent will live. It would be wise for all of the groups that are fighting for the same thing to come together and to figure out what the protocol is for someone to come back into the workplace after they’ve been accused of abuse.”

Also Read: John Lasseter Named Head of Skydance Animation After Disney Exit Over Misconduct Accusations

“This is going to happen now,” she added. “So what are we doing as an organization and a movement to ensure that when this does happen, women are fully protected at the workplace?”

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Lily Allen Details Sexual Assault Accusation Against Music Exec: ‘I Felt Shame’

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Singer Lily Allen revealed details of the alleged sexual assault she experienced by a “record industry executive” in her memoir, “My Thoughts Exactly.” She had previously made brief mention of the alleged incident and is now expanding on it in her book, set to be released Sept. 20.

Allen accused the man — left unnamed and referred to only as “Record Industry Executive” — took her to his hotel room after she had gotten “smashed” at a Los Angeles party. He then returned to the room after leaving her to “sleep things off.”

“I woke up at 5am because I could feel someone next to me pressing their naked body against my back,” Allen wrote of the events that followed. “I was naked, too. I could feel someone trying to put their penis inside my vagina and slapping my arse as if I were a stripper in a club.”

Also Read: Steven Seagal Accuser Faviola Dadis Says She Was Doubted on Live TV: ‘That Killed Me’

She wrote she “jumped out of the bed,” and upon identifying the person as Record Industry Executive, immediately ran out of the hotel room. After the alleged assault, she recalled feeling guilty for breaking her sobriety and was “paralysed.”

“I felt betrayed. I felt shame. I felt anger. I felt confused,” Allen wrote.

She said she continued working with Record Industry Executive, but after returning to London, she spoke with her lawyer and signed an affidavit stating her remembrance of what happened.

Also Read: TheWrap Publishes 13-Part #AfterMeToo Series, Revealing Powerful Testimony of Accusers

In an interview with The Guardian, she said she was later offered a gig with Radio 1, but turned it down because one of the executive’s artists would be there. She said she was then punished by the station “with no airplay” for her 2017 single “Trigger Bang.”

A representative for Allen declined to give further comment to TheWrap.

Allen wrote in her book that even in the #MeToo and #TimesUp era, sexual abuse is still “rife in the music industry.” She described a culture of drugs and sex, and recalled a time when she was 20 and had a consensual sexual encounter with an older, more powerful man who worked in artists and repertoire (A&R).

“It was consensual, sure. It’s just that he had all the power and I had none,” she said.

Though, she wrote in her book, she believes the industry is open to change.

“The record industry is beginning, I think and hope, to change,” she wrote. “The silence around abuse and harassment is still resounding, but some noise has emerged.”

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Harvey Weinstein Asks Judge to Dismiss Sexual Assault Case

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Harvey Weinstein on Friday made a push to have a New York judge toss out the criminal sexual assault case brought against him.

Weinstein, who’s been indicted on six counts including two counts of rape, said in a lengthy court filing from his lawyer Benjamin Brafman that the Manhattan D.A. “failed to provide the Grand Jury with exculpatory evidence of the long-term, consensual, intimate relationship between Mr. Weinstein and the alleged rape victim.”

Weinstein and his lawyer continued to point to what they consider failures on the part of the District Attorney, saying that the office did not give adequate notice that it was presenting new, far more serious charges to the Grand Jury.

Also Read: David Glasser Accused of Using Harvey Weinstein Scandal to Profit in Court Filing

The former Hollywood mogul is facing a six-count indictment stemming from a more than eight-month investigation by the D.A’s Office into alleged misconduct by Mr. Weinstein. The indictment alleges crimes of predatory sexual assault, criminal sexual act in the first degree, rape in the first degree and rape in the third degree.

Weinstein has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

Accusing the District Attorney of acting in “the face of outside pressure and political influences,” Friday’s filing says that the prosecutor likely presented the Grand Jury with an alleged rape victim “without presenting the actual and complete communications between the parties. This flawed presentation, we submit, knowingly allowed the Grand Jury to receive a materially incomplete picture of the evidence known to exist in this case, namely the long-term, consensual, intimate relationship between [the alleged victim] and Mr. Weinstein.”

Also Read: Anthony Bourdain Wanted to See Harvey Weinstein ‘Beaten to Death’ in Jail

The filing continues, “What is apparent instead is that the prosecutors already knew that [the alleged victim] and Mr. Weinstein had a long-term, consensual, intimate relationship at the time of the alleged rape and that it continued for years after.”

However, the filing cites “extensive communications and contact immediately following the now claimed forcible rape” that “instead reflect a consensual, intimate relationship with Mr. Weinstein in an exchange of more than 400 warm, complimentary and solicitous emails with an alleged rapist for more than four years after the alleged rape.”

Those communications, according to the filing, include emails from the alleged victim to Weinstein reading, “[I] hope to see you sooner than[] later. . . .,” “It would be great to see you again, and catch up!” and “Miss you big guy.”

The filing also says that the alleged rape victim sent a number of emails to Weinstein that “could also be reasonably understood to reflect [the victim’s] intention that she wanted the relationship to be deeper,” including a February 8, 2017, email saying, “I love you, always do. But I hate feeling like a booty call. :).”

The filing goes on to argue that the only reason that the accusations are not bound by the five-year statue of limitations is because the prosecution alleges that Weinstein used “forcible compulsion,” but that Weinstein’s team believes “the evidence before the Grand Jury was insufficient to meet the required standard of forcible compulsion and therefore all of these charges must be dismissed.”

Weinstein, who was arrested in May 2018, has been accused of sexual misconduct by more than 80 women and faces possible life in prison for the charges against him in New York City.

He is also under criminal investigation in Los Angeles and London for additional accusations of misconduct. In addition, he faces several lawsuits, including a class-action RICO suit filed by several of his accusers, and a separate one filed by actress Ashley Judd, who accused him of sabotaging her career.

He has denied the accusations leveled against him.

Pamela Chelin contributed to this report

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Jennifer Aniston: ‘I’ve Been Treated Worse Verbally by Some Women in This Industry’

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Jennifer Aniston discussed her experiences with sexual harassment in the entertainment industry during an interview with InStyle Magazine published on Wednesday.

Aniston, who gained worldwide recognition for her role as Rachel Green on “Friends,” acknowledged that she has been subjected to some “sloppy moves” by other actors, but said that her most negative experiences have stemmed from interactions with other women. “In my personal experience I’ve been treated worse verbally and energetically by some women in this industry,” she said.

Aniston said she has experienced her “fair share” of sexism during her time in Hollywood: “Women are picked apart and pitted against one another based on looks and clothing and superficial stuff.” She added: “When a couple breaks up in Hollywood, it’s the woman who is scorned. The woman is left sad and alone. She’s the failure. F that.”

Also Read: Les Moonves Asks USC Media Center to ‘Temporarily’ Stop Using His Name (Exclusive)

Aniston also weighed in on the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements, which emerged in the wake of sexual harassment claims against Harvey Weinstein and other powerful Hollywood players last fall. Asked if she has hope that the movement will result in change, Aniston said, “Yes, and it’s long overdue. But we also need to be better at listening to one another. That includes men. They need to be part of this conversation. When everyone is mad and aggressive, people become too afraid to speak and there is no conversation.”

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Can Les Moonves Keep His Job at CBS? ‘He’s No Longer Untouchable’

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Les Moonves is trying to do what few men accused of sexual misconduct in the #MeToo era have managed to do: Hold onto his job.

Men from Harvey Weinstein to Kevin Spacey to Matt Lauer to Louis CK have lost high-profile roles and largely left public life since they were accused of wrongdoing. But the CBS CEO will have to fight to hang on to the company he successfully shepherded for 15 years, earning more than $320 million in the last five years alone, experts tell TheWrap.

“This definitely creates a troubling situation for Les, especially considering the precedent that’s been set and how these accusations can often lead to a snowball effect,” said Tuna Amobi, a media analyst at CFRA Research. “Even if he does survive it — and right now I would not bet that he will — his reputation will be significantly tarnished.”

Also Read: Les Moonves Accused by 6 Women of Sexual Harassment

In a New Yorker story Friday, Ronan Farrow detailed accusations from four women who said Moonves forcibly touched or kissed them during business meetings, and two women who said he physically intimidated them or threatened to derail their careers. All six women, including actress and writer Illeana Douglas and writer Janet Jones, said they feared retaliation if they spoke out.

Moonves, who has been an advocate for the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements, said in a statement, “I recognize that there were times decades ago when I may have made some women uncomfortable by making advances. Those were mistakes, and I regret them immensely.” He stressed that he understood and respected that “no means no.”

A CBS insider told TheWrap Friday that Moonves plans to stay on the job while CBS investigates the accusations in the story.

The accusations come as Moonves is locked in a power struggle with Shari Redstone, who is trying to reunite CBS and Viacom. Redstone controls roughly 80 percent of both companies through her family’s holding company, National Amusements.

Also Read: Julie Chen Stands by Husband Les Moonves After Sexual Harassment Accusations: ‘Leslie Is a Good Man’

“There are people in high places who have taken a mighty fall,” said Lloyd Greif, founder and CEO of Greif & Co., an investment banking firm specializing in media and entertainment mergers. “It doesn’t look good for Moonves and, yes, this could very well take him down.”

“If that’s the case, you can assume he’ll get a helping hand from Viacom. They won’t be sad to see him leave,” Greif told TheWrap. “He’s the traffic cop hailing you his hand to stop the merger between the two companies, and the problem with traffic cops is that sometimes they [get] hit by a car.”

Amobi said that if someone as powerful as Weinstein could be forced out of his own company, Moonves should be worried, too.

Farrow said 30 current and former CBS employees told him “that such behavior extended from Moonves to important parts of the corporation, including CBS News and ’60 Minutes.’” Farrow reports that 19 current and former employees said Jeff Fager, the former chairman of CBS News and the current executive producer of “60 Minutes,” allowed harassment within the network’s news arm.

Also Read: Here’s How Many Millions Les Moonves Made in Each of the Last 5 Years

That creates another layer of trouble for CBS, which has vowed to investigate all of the accusations seriously.

“CBS has to do a thorough investigation not just of Les Moonves, but of the entire company,” said Richard Levick, chairman of crisis management firm Levick. “There is no question that he’s weakened. He’s no longer untouchable.”

“Some of the allegations are incredibly graphic, including some very graphic allegations of career ruination. That’s frightening,” Levick said. “I think that makes it go beyond just a misunderstanding or single occurrence; it appears like perpetual activity.”

One top talent agent, who also works with brands on shaping image, was confident Moonves will endure, and marveled at the nuance of his response. The agent said Moonves might benefit from the fact that the accusations are a decade old or more.

Also Read: Les Moonves Accuser Illeana Douglas Says ‘Real Change’ Will Mean More Opportunities for Her at CBS

“The claims are from way long ago, he owned up to making advances but said he abided by ‘no means no,’ and there’s no accused sexual battery or rape,” said the agent, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

Douglas said that her career suffered after she rejected Moonves. But the agent noted that Douglas appeared on CBS and Showtime (which is owned by CBS) after 1997, when she says Moonves held her down and kissed her. That could help Moonves make the case that he didn’t retaliate against her.

“She said her pilot was rejected after she refused him, but she was later cast on a show on the network, which would legally appear as being treated normally or fairly under those provisions,” the agent said.

Also Read: Shari Redstone v. Les Moonves: A Timeline of the Battle for CBS

The Independent Directors of CBS said in a statement Friday that the “current CBS management team” had its full support during the CBS and Viacom litigation:

All allegations of personal misconduct are to be taken seriously. The Independent Directors of CBS have committed to investigating claims that violate the Company’s clear policies in that regard. Upon the conclusion of that investigation, which involves recently reported allegations that go back several decades, the Board will promptly review the findings and take appropriate action.

The timing of this report comes in the midst of the Company’s very public legal dispute. While that litigation process continues, the CBS management team has the full support of the independent board members. Along with that team, we will continue to focus on creating value for our shareowners.

Redstone, through NAI, denied what she said was the “malicious insinuation” that she was somehow behind accusations against Moonves. In his story, Farrow says he had been speaking to the accusers since before the CBS and Viacom dispute began.

Also Read: Les Moonves to Stay on the Job During CBS Investigation of Sexual Misconduct Accusations (Update)

Here is Moonves’ complete statement:

Throughout my time at CBS, we have promoted a culture of respect and opportunity for all employees, and have consistently found success elevating women to top executive positions across our company. I recognize that there were times decades ago when I may have made some women uncomfortable by making advances. Those were mistakes, and I regret them immensely. But I always understood and respected-and abided by the principle-that ‘no’ means ‘no,’ and I have never misused my position to harm or hinder anyone’s career. This is a time when we all are appropriately focused on how we help improve our society, and we at CBS are committed to being part of the solution.

Matt Donnelly contributed to this report. 

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CBS Stock Drops as Sexual Misconduct Story Looms

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Shares of CBS Corp. stock fell nearly 7 percent during intraday trade on Friday after the media and entertainment company said it was investigating accusations of sexual misconduct.
In a statement released earlier Friday, the network said it was openin…

Harvey Weinstein Accuser Lauren Sivan Says Fox 11 Demoted Her After She Spoke Out (Exclusive)

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Lauren Sivan, an on-air reporter for Fox’s KTTV in Los Angeles, says the station sidelined her after she came forward last October to accuse Harvey Weinstein of sexual misconduct.

Sivan told TheWrap in an exclusive interview that she was stunned by her treatment at the station after her bombshell account that Weinstein masturbated into a plant in front of her at a restaurant in New York City in 2007. “I just felt like the station that I put my heart and soul into for seven years just used it as an excuse to get rid of me,” she said.

The veteran broadcaster said she worked three shifts per week for Fox 11, covering a variety of stories — until HuffPost published her account. In the nine months since then, Sivan said she has worked a total of six shifts at Fox 11 — her last time appearing on air was February 20.

She said the station called three more times since then asking her to fill-in last minute, which she was unable to do. She provided a screen grab of a text she said was sent from her assignment manager at 1:21 p.m. on May 15, asking if she could work at 3 p.m. later that day. “I was definitely the last person they called,” Sivan said.

Neither a spokesman for KTTV nor news director Kris Knutsen responded to repeated requests for comment.

Also Read: TV Reporter: Harvey Weinstein Masturbated in Front of Me

While other news directors in the L.A. market called Sivan to offer support after she made her accusation, she said there was radio silence from her employer and particularly Knutsen.

“She’s the only female news director in this market,” Sivan said about Knutsen, “and that’s what became really sad and disappointing to me.”

Sivan said she tried calling Knutsen both before and after HuffPost published her account but never heard back. (She said Knutsen did leave her a voicemail message two weeks later).

When the New York Times broke its story in which multiple women accused Weinstein of misconduct, Sivan said she told one of the station’s producers that she had her own “crazy Harvey Weinstein story.” She thought KTTV would jump at the chance to broadcast her story.

Also Read: Jennifer Salke, Kelly Bush Novak, Claire Forlani, Lauren Sivan Join Power Women Breakfast LA

But instead, she said the producer told her: “We’re good.” (She declined to name the producer, who still works at the station.)

That day, Sivan said, she got a call from HuffPost reporter Yashar Ali and decided to tell her story publicly for the first time: She said that Weinstein had cornered her at an empty restaurant in New York City and tried to kiss her. When she refused, she said, he masturbated in front of her, eventually ejaculating into a nearby potted plant. “Once he was done, I was allowed to leave,” she said. (Weinstein, who is awaiting trial in New York on multiple felony sexual assault charges, has publicly denied “any allegations of non-consensual sex.”)

Sivan’s story quickly went viral, partly because of its graphic details and partly because she was the first to come forward following the initial Times report. “Megyn Kelly Today” flew her to New York the following Monday to tape a live interview.

Also Read: Harvey Weinstein Accuser Describes ‘Disgusting’ Encounter: He ‘Began Pleasuring Himself’ (Video)

Sivan’s colleagues at Fox 11 were surprised that the station didn’t capitalize on her role in one of the biggest news stories of the year. “Everyone in the newsroom was surprised that we didn’t give her a platform to tell her story,” one station employee who declined to be identified told TheWrap. “There was never a reason given why she didn’t tell her story to us.”

The freeze-out of Sivan by KTTV came almost immediately. “For about two weeks I wasn’t on the air,” she said. “I thought it was just until things calmed down so I didn’t read too much into it.”

Also Read: Harvey Weinstein Accuser Describes ‘Disgusting’ Encounter: He ‘Began Pleasuring Himself’ (Video)

When Sivan was put back on rotation two weeks later, she said it was clear that she had been demoted. Her shifts were “fewer and far between,” and tended to come on weekends and nights and featured less-desirable assignments, she said.

“I was no longer covering the A-block stories,” Sivan said. “I was sent out to cover a kid who got bit by a dog.”

Sivan’s manager, John Ferriter, said he too was surprised by the station’s response. “We kept thinking they were going to do more with her because she was in the middle of the story but the reaction was the opposite,” he told TheWrap. “It was as if she didn’t exist there.”

Also Read: Weinstein Co Buyer Lantern Entertainment Accused of Racism, Fraud in $110 Million Lawsuit

These days, Sivan is hosting a daily radio show on KABC with Dr. Drew Pinsky, “Dr. Drew Midday Live With Lauren Sivan,” and an Oxygen crime show, “Abuse of Power.”

Another upcoming Oxygen show is also in the works.

For Sivan, the coup de grace came after Weinstein was arrested in New York City on May 25, when she said Fox 11 finally reached out for her to appear on air — as a source.

They had the nerve to call me after I lost my job,” she said. “They called me to give them a soundbite and that made me so angry.”

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A few weeks after the Venice, Telluride and Toronto film festivals brought us most of the films that would be competing for awards this year, Hollywood faced the fact that its culture was broken. It began with bombshell accusations of sexual misconduct…

Cannes Women’s Red Carpet: Festival To Sign Diversity Commitments, Cate Blanchett To Give #TimesUp Reading

Read on: Deadline.

EXCLUSIVE: In an unprecedented move in its 71-year history, the Cannes Film Festival will sign “concrete, strong commitments” on Monday around diversity.
In a statement sent to Deadline, the festival said: “The Festival de Cannes is partnering with a united positive action, initiated by the 5050 collective and Time’s Up. A symbolic image will be created on Saturday, May 12, before the signing of concrete, strong commitments on Monday, with diversity and parity guidelines.”…

Study: Male Indie Filmmakers Outnumber Women 2 to 1 at Major US Film Festivals

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

The overall number of films directed by women screened at major U.S. film festivals is roughly half that of male directors.

A new study, released today by the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film, found that festivals featured an average of 14 films — narrative features and documentaries — directed by at least one woman, compared with an average of 29 films directed exclusively by men.

When looking only at narrative feature films, the disparity was even worse. U.S. festivals screened an average of 6 narrative features directed by at least one woman, compared with an average of 16 narrative features directed by men.

Also Read: Cannes’ Female Troubles: Women Directors Have Always Been Scarce

The study examined 23 high-profile film festivals in the U.S., including AFI Fest, SXSW, Sundance, and Tribeca Film Festival.

“The findings indicate that the celluloid ceiling endures in independent film for behind-the-scenes women, despite the heightened public and industry attention regarding their under-employment,” said Dr. Martha M. Lauzen, executive director of the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film, in a statement. “The numbers have yet to reflect any sea change or seismic shift for women working on independent films.”

The study comes in the midst of the TimesUp movement and #MeToo, which have forced Hollywood and other industries to contend with the treatment of women in the workplace, pay disparity and the opportunities open to women.

Women accounted for 29 percent of directors, writers, producers, executive producers, editors, and cinematographers working on indie films shown at festivals in 2017-18 — an increase of just one percentage point from the year before.

Also Read: #MuteRKelly: Women of Color of Time’s Up Call on Industry to Cut Business Ties to R Kelly

And that’s despite the record high percentage of women in independent film working behind the camera as editors and cinematographers.

According to the study, 85 percent of the films screening at festivals had no women cinematographers, 77 percent had no women writers, 73 percent had no women editors, and 66 percent had no women directors.

Likely unsurprising, films that had at least one female director also had higher percentages of women writers, editors, and cinematographers than films with exclusively male directors.

Films with at least one woman director, were made up of 71 percent female writers, while on films with male directors, women accounted for only 8 percent of the writers.

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R Kelly Says Time’s Up Boycott Is an ‘Attempted Public Lynching of a Black Man’

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

R&B singer and accused sexual predator R. Kelly has issued a bold response to the growing boycott campaign against him, slamming the latest statement from the Time’s Up movement as an “attempted public lynching.”

“R. Kelly supports the pro-women goals of the Time’s Up movement,” a spokesperson for the singer said in a statement to TheWrap. “We understand criticizing a famous artist is a good way to draw attention to those goals—and in this case, it is unjust and off-target.”

The statement comes after the organization’s Women of Color committee announced Monday morning that they would throw their weight behind the #MuteRKelly campaign, demanding “appropriate investigations and inquiries into the allegations of R. Kelly’s abuse.”

They also called on Kelly’s label RCA Records, as well Spotify, Apple Music, Ticketmaster and Greensboro Coliseum Complex, to cut ties with the R&B singer.

Also Read: #MuteRKelly: Women of Color of Time’s Up Call on Industry to Cut Business Ties to R Kelly

Last year, Kelly was the subject of an investigative report published by BuzzFeed alleging that he was holding his teenage girlfriends against their will in a sex “cult.” His ex-girlfriend Kitti Jones later spoke out in a BBC documentary, saying that she was held in a “sex dungeon” while she was dating the singer and was forced to have sex with Kelly and others on “more than 10” occasions.

Kelly has denied the accusations against him, and Monday’s statement says Time’s Up has “rushed to judgement without the facts.”

“Soon it will become clear Mr. Kelly is the target of a greedy, conscious and malicious conspiracy to demean him, his family and the women with whom he spends his time,” the statement read.

Also Read: More R Kelly Sexual Misconduct Accusations Emerge From New Doc

“R. Kelly’s music is a part of American and African-American culture that should never–and will never–be silenced. Since America was born, black men and women have been lynched for having sex or for being accused of it. We will vigorously resist this attempted public lynching of a black man who has made extraordinary contributions to our culture.”

Read the full statement below:

R. Kelly supports the pro-women goals of the Time’s Up movement. We understand criticizing a famous artist is a good way to draw attention to those goals—and in this case, it is unjust and off-target.


We fully support the rights of women to be empowered to make their own choices. Time’s Up has neglected to speak with any of the women who welcome R. Kelly’s support, and it has rushed to judgment without the facts. Soon it will become clear Mr. Kelly is the target of a greedy, conscious and malicious conspiracy to demean him, his family and the women with whom he spends his time.


R. Kelly’s music is a part of American and African-American culture that should never–and will never–be silenced. Since America was born, black men and women have been lynched for having sex or for being accused of it. We will vigorously resist this attempted public lynching of a black man who has made extraordinary contributions to our culture.”


–Thanks for listening. R. Kelly management

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Time’s Up says time has run out for R Kelly.

On Monday morning, the Women of Color committee within the organization announced they’re joining the online #MuteRKelly campaign.

“The scars of history make certain that we are not interested in persecuting anyone without just cause,” reads a letter from the committee posted on The Root. “With that said, we demand appropriate investigations and inquiries into the allegations of R. Kelly’s abuse made by women of color and their families for over two decades now.

The group is demanding Kelly’s label RCA Records, as well Spotify, Apple Music, Ticketmaster and Greensboro Coliseum Complex, all cut ties with the R&B singer.

Also Read: Allison Mack Pitched Emma Watson, Kelly Clarkson to Join NXIVM Group Accused of Sex Trafficking

Director Ava DuVernay — a leader in the movement against sexual harassment created earlier this year by Hollywood celebrities in response to the Harvey Weinstein scandal and rise of #MeToo — took to Twitter to support the organization’s request.

“We join the call to #MuteRKelly and insist on the safety + dignity of all women,” DuVernay tweeted. “We demand investigations into R. Kelly’s abuse allegations made by women of color + their families for two decades. We call on those who profit from his music to cut ties. #MuteRKelly #TIMESUP #WOC.”

Also Read: Oscars: Faces of #MeToo, #TimesUp Herald a ‘New Path’ of Safety and Inclusion

The campaign was started in 2017 by Oronike Odeleye and Kenyette Barnes following decades of accusations of sexual misconduct against Kelly, who has an ongoing record deal with RCA Records. #MuteRKelly has an online petition demanding Sony part ways with the musician and that his upcoming performances be canceled by Live Nation.

Read the Women of Color/Time’s Up letter in its entirety below:

To Our Fellow Women of Color:

We see you. We hear you. Because we are you.

For too long, our community has ignored our pain. The pain we bear is a burden that too many women of color have had to bear for centuries. The wounds run deep.

As Women of Color within Time’s Up, we recognize that we have a responsibility to help right this wrong. We intend to shine a bright light on our WOC sisters in need. It is our hope that we will never feel ignored or silenced ever again.

The recent court decision against Bill Cosby is one step towards addressing these ills but it is just a start. We call on people everywhere to join with us to insist on a world in which women of all kinds can pursue their dreams free from sexual assault, abuse and predatory behavior.

To this end, today we join an existing online campaign called #MuteRKelly.

Over the past 25 years, the man known publicly as R. Kelly has sold 60 million albums, toured the globe repeatedly, and accumulated hundreds of millions of plays on radio and streaming services.

During this time, he also …

Married a girl under 18 years of age;
Was sued by at least 4 women for sexual misconduct, statutory rape, aggravated assault, unlawful restraint, and furnishing illegal drugs to a minor;
Was indicted on 21 counts of child pornography;
Has faced allegations of sexual abuse and imprisonment of women under threats of violence and familial harm;
Together, we call on the following corporations and venues with ties to R. Kelly to join us and insist on safety and dignity for women of all kinds:

RCA Records – The venerable music label currently produces and distributes R. Kelly’s music;
Ticketmaster – The popular ticketing system is currently issuing tickets for R. Kelly’s show on May 11;
Spotify and Apple Music – The popular streaming platforms currently monetizing R. Kelly’s music;
Greensboro Coliseum Complex – The venue is currently hosting an R. Kelly concert on May 11.
The scars of history make certain that we are not interested in persecuting anyone without just cause. With that said, we demand appropriate investigations and inquiries into the allegations of R. Kelly’s abuse made by women of color and their families for over two decades now. And we declare with great vigilance and a united voice to anyone who wants to silence us – their time is up.

Together, We Are Strong,


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