Tags: Winner's | Warning: | Kelly | Ahead

Winner's Warning: R. Kelly Ahead

Wednesday, 11 June 2003 12:00 AM

Because of the way sex offender registries work today, I have a question for you: Would you purposefully move your wife and three beautiful young daughters into a house if you knew it was located right next door to a registered sex offender? Unless there is something completely out of whack in your ability to understand the question as I asked it, the answer would be NO!

OK, let me back up the argument a bit. Maybe there was no court that had ruled as such; maybe there was no personal testimony. But what if, when you were talking to the neighbors as you were looking over the neighborhood, they consistently told you, "Hey, stay away from Mr. Friendly over there; he has made overtures to kids in the area." Would you let the kids run through the sprinkler in his front yard or take a dip in his pool?

OK, let me back it up even further. What if all you had was a weird feeling that the guy was giving your wife the "hey hey hey" treatment with his eyes? Would you be likely to have her spend large amounts of time with him? Alone?

Well, what if you knew that hundreds of the guy’s friends verify that a video circulating the Internet of him having sex with a teen-ager (non-adult) was truly him. What if he had a bit of a history wowing those younger female friends? What if in fact he had been caught not long after the video surfaced and while on bond awaiting his hearing on that charge gets busted for having nude photos of yet another in what seems like an endless line of underage girls.

If you were just that careless, you would deserve the label "negligent, possibly abusive, parent."

Now, what if you were sitting home and your little sweetheart comes to you. She has always wanted to be a singer, and she has heard about this contest on her favorite radio station where the winner gets to record a song professionally with an accomplished producer.

Your antennae wouldn't be up right away – but they should. Here's why.

This week, Chicago Sun Times media columnist Robert Feder brought to light the plan of two Chicago radio stations to launch their own version of an "I want to be an American Idol knock-off contest." It is even co-sponsored by a Fox broadcast television station in Chicago.

Grand prize? Well, for the girl … er, I mean winner who is the sexiest … uh, I mean does the best, he or she will have the chance to spend countless hours alone with "award winning" photographer – scratch that – producer R. Kelly in his pad ... oops, I mean studio, uh, recording studio. (Boy, this is hard to explain.)

According to the press release the girls, uh, I mean applicants, must look 18 or older… argh, I mean

Mr. Feder reports the details:

"WGCI-FM (107.5) and WVAZ-FM (102.7), two urban stations owned by Clear Channel Communications, are conducting a 'Chicago Idol' talent contest in which Kelly – identified as 'The Pied Piper of R&B' – figures prominently in the grand prize. Promoted in conjunction with Fox-owned WFLD-Channel 32, the local version of 'American Idol' seeks aspiring singers and rap artists from the area to compete for a chance to record a song to be written, produced and directed by Kelly."

Mr. Feder also gives some of the skinny on how Channel 32 may have landed the access to Kelly:

"Channel 32 made headlines in January when this column disclosed a memo from management urging staffers to 'take particular care in our reporting of Kelly' in order to maintain 'exclusive access to [him] before, during and after his upcoming trial.' "

The sad developments of this story are just oozing out of all sides of it, but for clarity's sake let me sum up just a couple of them.

How many times will Kelly be rewarded again and again for not being held accountable for his actions? Here is a guy who has yet to stand trial for 21 counts of child pornography. I am not saying he has been proven guilty, but I go back to the question at the beginning of this column. If you even had a suspicion in your own mind as a parent, would you allow such contact?

Will the operators of these two radio stations owned by Clear Channel communications ever grow a conscience? (Or if that is too much, how about just a dose of common sense?) And does it really gain anything for the Fox-TV Channel to put its stamp of approval on this project and become a full partner … uh, accomplice, in the matter?

R. Kelly's people and the contest organizers have a different take on it:

"What gives this promotion credibility is that the winner gets an opportunity of a lifetime to work with an extraordinary talent, R. Kelly," said Elroy Smith, program director of WGCI and WVAZ. "When Robert Kelly and I met to discuss this promotion, he said yes to this promotion without any reservation and concluded by saying that this is something that he has always wanted to do."

"Yes without any reservation"?

"Something that he has always wanted to do"?

I bet he did, and I bet he has ... um, I mean, yeah – great answer to your critics!

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Because of the way sex offender registries work today, I have a question for you: Would you purposefully move your wife and three beautiful young daughters into a house if you knew it was located right next door to a registered sex offender? Unless there is something...
Wednesday, 11 June 2003 12:00 AM
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