Two bands have cancelled their sets at an upcoming Ohio music festival over headliner R. Kelly's past allegations of sexual violence and assault.
Ohio-based bands Damn the Witch Siren and Saintseneca recently announced they have axed their gigs at the upcoming Fashion Meets Music Festival in Columbus in August (14) after festival organisers revealed the controversial R&B singer is one of the headlining acts.
Kelly was indicted on 21 counts of child pornography, based on a sex tape he allegedly made with an underage girl in 2002, and although he was later cleared of all charges, the case has proven to tarnish his reputation.
The band members of Saintseneca are among those who won't let Kelly forget about the scandal, explaining their decision to quit the gig in a statement which reads: "We feel R. Kelly's selection as a performer ignores his very serious allegations of sexual violence and assault.
"We feel it is an affront to all survivors, who are already often overlooked and forgotten in our society."
The musicians also announced plans to hold an alternative concert to benefit victims of sexual assault.
In addition to the bands, bosses at local radio station Wcbe 90.5 Fm decided to pull their sponsorship of the event, also citing Kelly's participation in the festival.
Fashion Meets Music Festival co-founder Bret Adams has defended adding Kelly to the bill, noting that the singer was acquitted in 2008, and adding, "We're not the morality police."
The inaugural music festival also features fellow headliners O.A.R. and Destiny's Child singer Michelle Williams.