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Sony splits from R. Kelly in wake of series on sexual abuse allegations

The record label had been under increasing pressure to cut ties with Kelly since Lifetime aired the docuseries, "Surviving R. Kelly."
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R. Kelly and his label, Sony Music, have gone their separate ways, a source told NBC News on Friday, which comes in the wake of a recent docuseries airing a range of allegations including sexual, physical and emotional abuse made against the singer.

Requests for comment from representatives for Sony and Kelly by NBC news were not immediately returned on Friday.

Watch Dateline NBC’s "Accused: The R. Kelly Story" tonight at 10pm ET/9pm CT

Kelly's Chicago-based criminal defense lawyer, Steven Greenberg, said he has no connections to his client's music career and has "absolutely no knowledge" of any split with Sony.

The record label, artists and music streaming services and have been under increasing pressure to cut ties with Kelly since Lifetime aired the docuseries, "Surviving R. Kelly."

The TV series brought renewed attention to sexual abuse allegations against the Grammy-winning performer.

Lady Gaga apologized for a 2013 duet she did with R. Kelly, "Do What U Want (With My Body),” and pulled the tune from streaming services after pressure from fans.

“I stand by anyone who has ever been the victim of sexual assault,” she said in a statement.

Earlier this month, a plane flew above Southern California headquarters of RCA Records, a subsidiary of Sony Music, saying, "RCA/Sony: Drop Sexual Predator R. Kelly."

Protesters also gathered outside Sony's New York headquarters on Wednesday to call for Kelly's removal from the label.

Kelly has been with Sony, RCA and its previous label Jive Records, for his entire career, going back to the early 1990s.

Earlier on Friday, a former manager for Kelly turned himself in for allegedly threatening a Georgia man who accused the singer of holding his adult daughter against her will, authorities said.

Henry James Mason surrendered to Henry County Sheriff's deputies at 8:30 a.m. ET and was booked on one count of allegedly making terroristic threats, the department said.

He posted a $10,000 bond and was released at about 9:15 a.m., an official said.

A Georgia couple, Timothy and Jonjelyn Savage, claim their daughter, Joycelyn, was sexually abused and is being held against her will by Kelly, in accusations made in "Surviving R. Kelly." In a video released in May 2018, Joycelyn Savage denied she was being held against her will.

Kelly has denied all allegations made against him from accusers over the years.

Timothy Savage has accused Kelly's former manager, Mason, of threatening him.

Savage told police in Stockbridge this past May that Mason said to him: "I'm gonna do harm to you and your family, when I see you, I'm gonna get you, I'm going to f---ing kill you."

Mason denied the allegation.

"My team and I will present facts soon that will discredit any and all accusations that suggest I have engaged in any acts of bullying, harassment or aggressive acts against my accusers," Mason said in a statement released by his Atlanta-based attorney Adamma McKinnon.

"I have confidence in my legal team that I will be exonerated of all pending charges."

Savage's lawyer, Gerald Griggs, told NBC News on Friday his client is "relieved, but you have to understand, he's received multiple threats from multiple people from Mr. Kelly's camp" and predicted more arrests.

Kelly's lawyer denied that his client directed Mason to make any alleged threats.

Greenberg said that both he and police officers have spoken to Joycelyn Savage in the past week and she was not in any distress.

"Miss Savage is a grown woman and she can do whatever she wants to do. She's fine," Greenberg told NBC News on Friday.