R. Kelly’s concert at Madison Square Garden’s Hulu Theater has been cancelled, but multiple reasons may contribute to why the show was called-off.
According to the South Carolina-based promoter Victory Promotions, the show was cancelled due to Hurricane Florence, a Category 1 storm trudging through North and South Carolina this week. The company said that the storm would make it difficult for the production crew to travel to New York for the show slated for tomorrow, September 15. However, other reasons have arisen.
Kelly’s show wasn’t particularly a hot-selling event. Over the past 24 years, the singer has been accused on several occasions of sexual abuse. Vox outlined all of his accusations, starting back in 1994 when he married a 15-year-old girl, all the way up until a few months ago where he was accused of infecting a woman with an STD.
There is a #MuteRKelly movement which has been working to shut down multiple Kelly concerts. So far, the campaign has helped cancel 10 of his shows, including one at the University of Illinois- Chicago this past April. The team was working to cancel the show at Hulu Theater; co-founder Oronike Odeley called the singer’s recent 19-minute apology song a “19-minute sex trafficking fundraising anthem.”
Aside from the persistence of #MuteRKelly to cancel the show and the bad press surrounding the singer, the cancellation also comes just a day after Kelly’s younger brother accused him of sexually abusing their 14-year-old cousin, Vibe reports. In an interview with the publication, Carey Kelly called his brother “demonic,” noting that “anytime a person lusts after a minor something is wrong with them.”
Spin also noted that based on the Ticketmaster page for the concert before it was cancelled, tickets were not selling as well as expected. While Victory Promotions said that the show’s cancellation did not have anything to do with ticket sales, Spin has a screenshot which showcases seats available for more than half of the theater.
The performance at Hulu Theater was supposed to be Kelly’s most high-profile event in years.