Kerri-Anne Kennerley Is The Only Person Who Wants R. Kelly Let Into Australia

"You've got to prove these allegations."

Kerri-Anne Kennerley wants R. Kelly let into Australia

Warning: This article discusses sexual and child abuse. 

Studio 10 host and famous haver of bad opinions Kerri-Anne Kennerley has questioned a push to bar rapper and alleged sexual abuser R. Kelly from entering Australia. Which seems like a very weird hill to plant your flag on, but okay.

Kennerley seemingly came to Kelly’s defence on Thursday morning after her co-hosts Angela Bishop and Joe Hildebrand said the musician, who is planning to tour Australia later this year, should be denied a visa on character grounds.

“For me, you’ve got to prove those allegations,” said Kennerley. “It’s got to go to court. You can’t just randomly say ‘we think you did this, this and this’.”

In response, Bishop pointed out that Harvey Weinstein was removed as head of the Weinstein company following allegations of sexual harassment and assault, even though he had not been convicted.

“Yes, but that’s a commercial [decision],” Kennerley replied.

“But we’re not talking about putting someone in jail,” said Hildebrand. “We’re talking about the government using its discretion.”

“[Kelly’s] coming here to make money,” Bishop added.

“The concern is you set a precedent, and then you say that anyone with allegations against [them] can be used as a reason to kick [them] out of the country,” said guest Benedict Brook.

“How far do you go?” Kennerley then asked.

For what it’s worth, Kelly has been accused of a litany of sexual offences, including sex with minors and holding women against their will as part of what’s been described as “an abusive cult”. So, off the top of my head, I’d say you go roughly that far.

The allegations against the rapper were outlined in horrifying detail in the six-part documentary series Surviving R. Kelly, the release of which has led a number of prominent artists including Lady Gaga to apologise for working with him.

The news that Kelly was planning an Australian tour sparked an immediate backlash, with Labor’s immigration spokesperson Shayne Neumann saying he would be “seriously concerned” if the rapper as allowed into Australia.

The government has the ability to deny visas on character or criminal grounds, and in 2015 refused entry to rapper Chris Brown due to his history of domestic violence.

A petition calling on the government to keep Kelly out of Australia has gained more than 1000 signatures.

Kennerley came under fire last month for comments she made about Invasion Day protesters and sexual abuse in Indigenous communities that were described by guest co-host Yumi Stynes as “racist”.

You can watch Kerri-Anne Kennerley and the rest of the Studio 10 panel talking about R. Kelly, below.

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