R. Kelly and Universal Music Group Ordered to Pay $500,000 in Music Royalties for Restitution and Fines
In a notable legal turn, R. Kelly and Universal Music Group (UMG) have been instructed to pay a sum exceeding $500,000 in music royalties to the Brooklyn federal prosecutors. This payment is designated to aid restitution for the victims of his actions and address outstanding criminal fines. The directive, issued on August 23 by U.S. District Judge Ann Donnelly, compels UMG, R. Kelly’s longtime music publisher, to make the payment. Judge Donnelly had previously mandated R. Kelly to pay nearly $28,000 from his prison inmate account to resolve unpaid fines. The incarcerated multiplatinum artist is currently serving a 30-year prison term following his 2021 convictions on charges of racketeering and sex trafficking in New York.
As part of his sentencing in 2022, R. Kelly, alongside UMG and Sony Music Entertainment, was collectively obligated to pay a total of $500,000 to the victims of sexual abuse.
The court contended that both major music corporations held “property” belonging to R. Kelly, corresponding to the $504,289 owed in restitution fees and criminal fines. Nevertheless, the recent ruling clarifies that Sony Music will no longer shoulder the responsibility of contributing to this specific sum. Instead, R. Kelly’s royalties from Universal will be allocated to fulfill these financial obligations.
This development follows almost thirty years of allegations against R. Kelly, culminating in his 2021 convictions. The high-profile trial exposed his alleged use of employees and intermediaries to ensnare fans and aspiring singers in exploitative and controlling circumstances.
These allegations included instances of victims being confined to rooms without sustenance or restroom access for prolonged periods.
R. Kelly was also found guilty of coercing minors into engaging in sexual activities and producing explicit content involving a minor.
His legal woes intensified with the airing of the 2019 Lifetime documentary series “Surviving R. Kelly,” which featured detailed testimonials from his alleged victims. The series played a pivotal role in shifting public sentiment against him, despite much of the information having been public for years. By the time of his imprisonment, R. Kelly’s substantial income from tours and recorded music, which had previously funded his legal defense, had significantly dwindled.
This recent development underscores the ongoing legal consequences and financial implications confronting the once-celebrated artist.
It also underscores the enduring impact of the #MeToo movement and the unwavering commitment of the justice system to hold individuals accountable for their actions.