In an age where an interview question and a poorly framed response can become viral in a matter of minutes, celebrities have to exercise restraint when they choose to address certain issues. Celebrities like Chris Brown, Kanye West, and even Beyonce after the infamous elevator fight, have had to step out and address their improprieties head on. Not just to salvage their reputation but also to admit that they make mistakes.
Just a few short weeks ago, R. Kelly sat down with HuffPost live host Caroline Modarressy-Tehrani to discuss his newest project and to answer some questions from fans. Lots of fans submitted thoughtful tweets aimed at the R&B singer in hopes of discussing his music as well as his reputation. While R. Kelly was gracious enough to respond to questions about his newest album, the interview took a sharp turn when the host addressed the allegations of sexual misconduct that R. Kelly has encountered over his career.
R. Kelly quickly became offensive and chose not to answer any of those questions directly. Instead, he attacked the line of questioning and took offense to the entire interview before storming off. While there’s no arguing that the allegations are a sensitive subject, they are a valid part of his legacy and fans admitted that they felt too conflicted to support his work at times. R. Kelly did state that he doesn’t concern himself with the opinions of people if they aren’t supporting him.
“You can’t satisfy everybody,” he continued. “I will continue to do my job until I get fired, and the only people who can fire me are my fans.”
Soon after the interview aired, comment section wars erupted where fans took staunch positions. Some fans argued that R. Kelly’s freedom spoke for itself, claiming that if the allegations had been true, he would be incarcerated. In terms of the American justice system, complaints like the ones against R. Kelly are often settled out of court in the same way that mega stars like Michael Jackson avoided jail time. Others applauded the host for staying tough and talking about something important.
Although R. Kelly’s commercial success is looking more bleak with each album, his lack of accountability propels him forward. Instead of discussing his amount of comfort when discussing these allegations, he and his fans never consider the perspective of the young victims, their friends, their families, and any woman who ever dared to speak up against someone after inappropriate conduct. With fame comes a responsibility to own up to mistakes that are made in the public eye.
As R. Kelly fans discussed how conflicted they felt about supporting his album, he turned the blind eye as if he was above criticism. The more we allow celebrities to escape accountability for their actions, the more we empower them to hurt others without consequences. If his recent record sales are any indication, his talent is being out shined by his inability to accept responsibility for his actions.