Disgraced: Will Bump n Grind Star R Kelly Be Latest Sex Fiend Celeb To Have Their Work Airbrushed?
American R&B singer R Kelly has been found guilty of all charges in a sex trafficking trial and faces a long prison sentence. Will he join Gary Glitter, Bill Cosby and a series of other disgraced celebrities whose work has been airbrushed?
Music streaming services like Spotify and Amazon Music are already coming under pressure to remove the songs of R Kelly
after he was convicted of sex crimes.
Kelly, 54, was a huge star in the 1990s with hits like I Believe I Can Fly and Bump ‘n’ Grind and has sold millions of albums worldwide.
But in 2019 a documentary, Surviving R Kelly, resurrected allegations by dozens of young black women and girls against him and on Monday, 27 September, he was convicted on nine counts of sex trafficking and racketeering.
He is the latest in a string of celebrities in the world of music, television and film whose work has been tarnished by their secret lives as perverts or paedophiles.
In the mid-1970s Gary Glitter - real name Paul Gadd - was one of the biggest names in British pop music, surfing a genre called glam rock.
Sporting a giant quiff, baring his hairy chest and wearing outlandish outfits, Glitter had a string of chart hits in the UK, including songs with titles which in hindsight sound very creepy - I’m The Leader Of The Gang and Do You Want To Touch Me?
But his world came crashing down in 2006 when he was jailed in Vietnam for sexually abusing two young girls.
He was demonised in the British press and on his return to the UK he became the subject of a police investigation after a number of women who had been young girls in the 1970s came forward and claimed he had abused them.
In 2015 Glitter, by now 70, was jailed for 16 years for the offences, which including the attempted rape of a 10-year-old girl and an attack on two schoolgirls in his dressing room at the height of his fame.
Glitter’s songs have been erased from music streaming services and he is omitted from nostalgic TV shows and music compilations from the glam rock era.
In the 1980s The Cosby Show was the biggest sitcom on US TV, with a huge syndicated audience in the United States.
Cosby had begun as a stand-up comedian and occasionally included risqué jokes in his act but his wholesale sitcom was targeted at middle class family audiences and it came as a huge shock when allegations first emerged about the star in 2014.
Most of the allegations fell outside the statute of limitations for prosecution but in 2018 Cosby, by then 81, was convicted of aggravated indecent assault against Andrea Constand over an incident in 2004 when she was drugged and assaulted.
In June 2021 Cosby’s conviction was overturned on a legal technicality and he was released from prison.
Reruns of The Cosby Show had been airing for years but from 2014 onwards they were gradually removed from syndication in the US and are rarely shown globally.
DJ and broadcaster Jimmy Savile was another huge name in British showbusiness in the 1970s and 80s and when he died in 2011, aged 84, the BBC aired a special tribute programme.
But it later emerged many of his former BBC colleagues had been aware of Savile’s “dark side” as a sexual predator who preyed on young girls throughout his career.
Savile’s hit TV show Jim’ll Fix It ran from 1975 until 1994 and the format involved children writing to him and asking for him to grant their wishes. In several episodes Savile would encourage the young children to sit on his lap.
The BBC eventually launched an inquiry, headed by Dame Janet Smith, into Savile’s abuse and why a Newsnight investigation into him had never been aired.
In 2016 Dame Janet published a damning report which found the BBC had missed five opportunities to stop Savile’s abuse, the earliest of which was in 1973 when the then controller of BBC Radio 1 Douglas Muggeridge had been more concerned with the "risk of damage to the BBC's reputation" than the welfare of the abused girls.
Re-runs of Jim’ll Fix It were stopped after the abuse emerged, as have old episodes of Top Of The Pops in which Savile appeared.
, the lead singer of the British band, Lostprophets, was jailed in 2013 for 29 years for horrific child abuse, including the attempted rape of a baby.
Sentencing Watkins, the judge described him as having "plumbed new depths of depravity."
In 2017 the Independent Police Complaints Commission found that South Wales Police had missed several opportunities to bring Watkins to justice sooner.
Lostprophets released seven studio albums, one of which ironically is called The Betrayed, and were very popular on the music festival scene.
But they broke up after Watkins’ arrest and their music was dropped from music stations and streaming services.
The remaining members of the band formed a new group, No Devotion, with a new singer, Geoff Rickly, but have failed to reach the success of Lostprophets.
The behaviour of Hollywood music producer Harvey Weinstein
was another open secret for years but it was only the onset of the #MeToo campaign which led to charges being brought against him.
In 2020 Weinstein, 67, was convicted of sexually assaulting a woman in 2006 and raping another female in 2013 and was jailed for 23 years.
His name still appears on the credits for dozens of Hollywood movies, ranging from the ironically titled Sex, Lies and Videotape in 1989 to the Oscar-nominated The Crying Game, Pulp Fiction, The English Patient and Good Will Hunting.
Because he does not feature on screen, Weinstein’s films are unlikely to be airbrushed in the same way as other celebrities.
In 2014 Australian-born TV star Rolf Harris was jailed in London for five years for assaulting girls as young as seven.
Mr Justice Sweeney said Harris, then 84, had shown "no remorse" and had taken advantage of his status as a huge TV star in Britain in the 1980s.
Harris was an artist, musician and television personality who presented a number of hit TV shows on BBC and ITV, including Rolf’s Cartoon Club and Animal Hospital.
Re-runs of his shows were dumped into television purgatory following his conviction.
Gay Hollywood star Kevin Spacey has never been convicted of any offences but he was dropped like a hot coal by the film and TV business in 2017 after allegations emerged about his behaviour.
The Oscar-winning actor was fired from the hit TV show House of Cards and his part in Ridley Scott’s film All the Money in the World was completely reshot with Christopher Plummer in the role of John Paul Getty.
Anthony Rapp, who was 14 at the time of the incident, accused Spacey of trying to seduce at a party in New York in 1986.
Spacey issued an apology in which he said: “I honestly do not remember the encounter, it would have been over 30 years ago. But if I did behave then as he describes, I owe him the sincerest apology for what would have been deeply inappropriate drunken behaviour, and I am sorry for the feelings he describes having carried with him all these years.”
In 2018 Spacey was charged with sexual assault in an incident involving another teenage boy in Massachusetts but the charge was dismissed after the alleged victim withdrew their civil case.
In May this year it was reported Spacey
had been given his first role since the scandal broke.
Spacey’s films, and reruns of the House of Cards, have continued to be aired.