AceShowbiz - Activists demanding R. Kelly be shunned over sexual abuse allegations have slammed Madison Square Garden's (MSG) owners for hosting his concert.
The controversial singer has booked the legendary New York venue's 5,600 capacity Hulu Theater for a concert on 15 September - a deal that MSG officials have defended despite calls to cancel the gig.
In a statement, a spokesperson for the #MuteRKelly campaign, whose backers, including the director Ava DuVernay and TV impresario Shonda Rhimes, are demanding music industry figures cut ties with Kelly, told WENN they were "shocked" the concert would be going ahead.
"Given the serious nature of R. Kelly's behavior and the public scrutiny around his lack of accountability for multiple accusations of sexual abuse and misconduct against young girls and women, we are shocked and disappointed that the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden has agreed to host his concert," they said.
Among the allegations Kelly faces are that he masterminded a "sex cult" by grooming young women - including one underage teen. The musician's ex-wife also recently alleged she suffered abuse during their 13-year marriage. The claims, which first surfaced in a BuzzFeed News report last year, are just the latest to have dogged the R&B star - who was acquitted in a child pornography case in 2008.
The campaigners stated that they were determined to make sure the I Believe I Can Fly singer, "feels irreparable financial consequences for his reprehensible behavior against girls and young women," and hinted that MSG bosses could face protests like those at other venues hosting Kelly if they do not reconsider.
MSG officials have defended their decision to allow the R&B star to book the gig, telling The Spin website: "MSG has a long history of not censoring performers. We believe artists have the right to rent our venues to put on their own event, and that the public then has the choice whether or not to support that event."