Lady Gaga has taken the step of removing a single track from her 2013 album Artpop from both Apple Music and iTunes — with other streaming music services to follow.
The reason? Because the song, “Do What U Want,” features R. Kelly, whose history of alleged sexual and physical abuse against women and underage girls was recently the subject of a documentary series.
I stand by anyone who has ever been the victim of sexual assault: pic.twitter.com/67sz4WpV3i
— Lady Gaga (@ladygaga) January 10, 2019
“I stand behind these women 1000%, believe them, know they are suffering and in pain and feel strongly that their voices should be heard and taken seriously,” Gaga wrote in a Twitter post explaining her decision.
This isn’t the first time Kelly has had his issues with streaming platforms. Last year, Spotify instituted a new policy in which it would not promote artists it judged to be “hateful.” While Kelly’s music wasn’t removed, it was downgraded in terms of its promotion and discoverability on the platform.
Lady Gaga previously defended her collaboration with Kelly. Speaking in Japan in 2013, she reportedly said that, “R. Kelly and I have sometimes had very untrue things written about us, so in a way this was a bond between us.” However, in light of the recent allegations about Kelly, it seems Gaga has revised her stance — and decided to pull the track herself.
Kelly’s lawyers have branded the recently resurfaced accusations as being just, “another round of stories” used to “fill reality TV time.”
Given how Apple recently removed numerous podcasts from conspiracy theorist Alex Jones from its platform on moral reasons, it will be interesting to see if the company makes any kind of move in an official capacity. Other R. Kelly music is currently available on iTunes and Apple Music.