Electro-pop group Blood on the Dance Floor’s catalog of hundreds of songs has been taken off Spotify for violating the music-streaming service’s prohibited content policy, which bans music that “promotes, advocates, or incites hatred or violence” against groups or individuals based on characteristics like gender, race and religion.
The removal this week follows a months-long HuffPost investigation into rape and assault allegations against frontman Dahvie Vanity (real name Jesus David Torres) who stands accused by 21 women of forced oral, vaginal and anal sex; several of the women were minors, and at least one case was reported to police. Allegations stem back to 2007, when the band first formed, and a number of former bandmates have also publicly accused him of inappropriate behavior with teenage girls. Vanity has yet to be charged with a crime.
Spotify did not immediately respond to Rolling Stone‘s request for comment, but said to HuffPost on Tuesday that the scrubbing of the band’s music from its platform had nothing to do with the allegations against the individual singer, and was based off of violations of its policy against hate content. Several songs from Blood on the Dance Floor, which has released 11 studio albums, involve lyrics that brag about ejaculating on women, humiliating women and killing women. (Torres is the only remaining member from the original lineup). The group’s music is still available on Apple Music and YouTube.
For Spotify, it’s a thin line to walk: This month is the near-anniversary of Spotify’s moment in PR hell in 2018, when it rolled out, then quickly walked back after backlash, a “hate content and hateful conduct” policy that not only removed some music for violating content terms, but also kicked certain controversial artists like XXXTentacion and R. Kelly off of playlists while allegations swirled around them about possibly criminal behavior. CEO Daniel Ek admitted the company “could have done a much better job” around the rollout and was not intending to play moral police. Spotify axed the widely disputed “hateful conduct” portion of the policy, but stayed firm on hate content.
“Spotify does not permit content whose principal purpose is to incite hatred or violence against people because of their race, religion, disability, gender identity, or sexual orientation,” the company said in a statement in June 2018. “As we’ve done before, we will remove content that violates that standard. We’re not talking about offensive, explicit, or vulgar content — we’re talking about hate speech.”