R. Kelly's Amsterdam concert cancelled after weeks of controversy

R. Kelly after he was arrested in Chicago, 2019
Booking photo of R. Kelly after he turned himself in on ten counts of aggravated sexual abuse. Feb. 22, 2019.photo: Chicago Police

The R. Kelly concert scheduled in Amsterdam next month has been cancelled, the venue The Box announced in a statement on Monday. Kelly was arrested in Chicago on February 22, where he faces ten counts of aggravated sexual abuse involving four victims, three of whom were underage at the time.

"We as an organization were in no way aware of the documentary series released by BBC, the content of these documentaries and the consequences of this during the organization of the European 'King of R & B Tour'," the statement from The Box said. "The appearance of the documentary series 'Surviving R. Kelly' and some recently published incriminating videos have led to commotion, discussion, insights and dialogue."

It is not clear if the organizers mistook the recent Surviving R. Kelly three-part series from Lifetime with R. Kelly: Sex Girls and Videotapes, broadcast by BBC One nearly a year ago.

The event was announced shortly after Surviving R. Kelly was released in January which elaborated on decades of sexual abuse allegations against the singer. It prompted a significant amount of backlash, with an online petition against the concert receiving thousands of signatures in a matter of hours.

Initial planning for the concert began in July, about three months after the BBC documentary first aired, and nearly ten years after R. Kelly was acquitted in a child pornography case. At the center of that case was a video that allegedly showed R. Kelly having sexual contact with an underage girl.

"As an organization we wanted to withdraw at an earlier stage," The Box said in the statement, which partner Nora van der Woude also told NL Times last week. They first had the opportunity to scrap the show when it became clear to them that Kelly's passport was confiscated, thus forcing an end to the tour.

Ticket buyers will receive an automatic refund, The Box revealed. 

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