Fulton County commissioners want to cancel a concert at a county-owned venue. But they don’t have the power to do that.
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R&B singer R. Kelly is scheduled to perform at Wolf Creek Amphitheater on Aug. 25. Buzzfeed News recently alleged that the singer has been keeping women against their will in a “cult.”
Amid these recent allegations, Fulton County commissioners don’t want Kelly to perform at their venue. So, what’s the problem?
After an audit found several mismanagement issues, the county handed management over to Live Nation, a private company. John Eaves, the chair of the Fulton County Board of Commissioners, said because of this management transfer, the county can’t do much to cancel the concert themselves.
“Ultimately, it’s up to Live Nation to make the decision on whether they want to continue with the concert or not. The best I can do is express my concern, which I’m doing by way of a letter from the County Attorney,” Eaves said.
He said the letter will express the county’s concerns over hosting the artist and will ask Live Nation to cancel the concert. But Eaves said Live Nation still reserves the right to continue with the show.
“Unfortunately, this is the downside of outsourcing or contracting out. You do lose your leverage in terms of what you can prevent going forward, in terms of concerts that are scheduled,” He said.
Eaves said that the county’s contract with Live Nation does include some exceptions where it can step in and make executive decisions, but this concert falls within a gray area.
“We do not want to get in the business of censoring the work of artists. We feel that that’s not productive,” he said. “We do, however, feel that there’s a degree of moral ground that we stand on.”
Kelly has canceled shows in Baton Rogue, Dallas and New Orleans already, due to low ticket sales. Eaves said this gives him hope that Live Nation will honor his request.
“There is a possibility of our request being honored because there are other cities that have canceled on concerts in the past several weeks,” he said.
Fulton County Attorney Patrise Perkins-Hooker sent the letter to Live Nation on Thursday afternoon.
Kelly’s publicist, Trevian Kutti, sent the following statement to WABE in response to the allegations against him:
“Mr. Robert Kelly is both alarmed and disturbed by the recent revelations attributed to him. Mr. Kelly unequivocally denies such accusations and will work diligently and forcibly to pursue his accusers and lear his name,” Kutti says.
Live Nation did not respond to WABE’s request for comment.