Calls to boycott Chris Brown's Dartmouth concert grow louder
Published Tuesday, July 16, 2013 7:12PM ADT
Last Updated Tuesday, July 16, 2013 7:33PM ADT
Calls to boycott a concert at Dartmouth’s Alderney Landing are growing louder after it was announced controversial singer Chris Brown would be headlining the event.
Brown was sentenced to five years of probation and six months of community labour for assaulting his then-girlfriend Rihanna in 2009.
Almost 12,000 people had signed an online petition to remove Brown from the Energy Rush concert series as of 7 p.m. Tuesday.
At this point, more people have signed up to stop Brown’s appearance than can actually attend the show on Aug. 31.
Halifax resident Nichole Snow, who describes herself as an equal rights activist, started the online campaign.
“It’s great to have a discussion about this, even if you don’t sign the petition and maybe you want Chris Brown here,” says Snow.
“It’s good to have that conversation with your friends and everybody, what it means to be in a domestic abuse relationship and how we can help people that are in that.”
A total of four sponsors have backed out of the event, including seven-time sponsor Rogers Communication, Molson Coors, Halifax’s Centre for Arts and Technology and Dartmouth-based A Touch of Radiance spa.
The American R&B star’s upcoming concert has also sparked protests and angry outbursts on social media.
Even HRM Mayor Mike Savage has denounced Brown, saying the thought of the singer performing in Halifax made him “sort of sick.”
But it appears the concert at Alderney Landing may be upstaged by another event scheduled to take place the same night.
Jen Ochej is coordinating a concert fundraiser with proceeds going to women’s shelters in Halifax.
“We can’t be angry about this concert and think we’ve done our job, so we decided that we would plan an event on the same night but it would be a fundraiser for charities that deal with victims of domestic violence,” says Ochej.
Concert promoter Stephen Tobin of Drop Entertainment says Brown is aware of the backlash brewing over his appearance but is still looking forward to coming to the Maritimes.
“I spoke directly to Chris and his team on the reaction here in Halifax,” says Tobin. “He understands because it is a sensitive topic, but at the same time, I think this is motivation to put on a bigger and better performance for his fans here in Halifax.”
Tobin admits he is also taking some heat and that his company is being targeted by people who oppose the concert.
He says he expected to receive some negative feedback but that he has had to lock the door to the office because people have threatened violence.
Despite the backlash, Tobin says he is confident the show will go on and that tickets will sell.
A second Chris Brown concert is planned for another Maritime location, although promoters have yet to make an official announcement.
However, recent developments in the singer’s assault case could make it difficult for him to enter Canada; a Los Angeles judge revoked Brown’s probation Monday due to a hit-and-run incident in which Brown was involved in May.
If a judge determines Brown did violate his probation, he could go to prison for four years. A hearing is scheduled for August.
Tickets for Energy Rush go on sale Wednesday.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Marie Adsett
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