Fact Checking Charlie Kirk’s Claim About R. Kelly and Spotify

In a tweet, Charlie Kirk claimed that while the presence of Joe Rogan’s podcast on Spotify has been controversial, convicted sex offender and trafficker R. Kelly’s music is still hosted by the streaming service.

The post received more attention when it was shared on Facebook and went viral.

Kirk’s comments come on the tail of a number of musicians and other figures pushing for Spotify to remove Rogan’s podcast for Rogan’s promotion of COVID misinformation on his show and the revelation that he’d used racially offensive language in the past. Rogan has a deal with Spotify worth more than $100 million, through which Spotify receives exclusive streaming rights to his podcast.

Following new charges against Kelly in 2017, Spotify decided to remove Kelly’s music from its curated playlists and algorithmic suggestions as a part of a new hateful content policy intended to prevent the promotion of artists accused of misconduct. Spotify later walked back the policy after artist outcry. Spotify now offers the ability to “mute” artists, blocking their music from appearing on your lists. Regardless, Kirk’s claim is true: Kelly’s discography has remained on Spotify that entire time, and is still available to listen to today. 

If you have a claim you would like to see us fact check, please send us an email at factcheck@thedispatch.com. If you would like to suggest a correction to this piece or any other Dispatch article, please email corrections@thedispatch.com.

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