Fourth sponsor pulls out of Chris Brown concert
Published Monday, July 15, 2013 5:18PM ADT
Last Updated Monday, July 15, 2013 7:22PM ADT
A total of four sponsors have now pulled their support for the Energy Rush concert series in Dartmouth after it was announced controversial singer Chris Brown would be headlining the event.
In the wake of public petitions and protests, Molson Coors, Halifax’s Centre for Arts and Technology and Dartmouth-based A Touch of Radiance spa announced Monday they would be withdrawing their sponsorship from the event.
“We can confirm that Molson Coors is no longer associated with Energy Rush 2013 in Halifax,” said the company in a statement.
“Following Friday’s announcement, we decided to no longer pursue partnership with this year’s event. The feedback we’ve received from fans has echoed our decision not to participate.”
Their decision comes after seven-time sponsor Rogers Communications withdrew its support from the event on Saturday.
The American R&B star’s upcoming concert at Alderney Landing on Aug. 31 has also sparked protests and angry outbursts on social media.
“I definitely don’t think it’s a very good idea considering everything that did happen,” says one Halifax resident. “I don’t think it’s a very good, you know, it’s not a good role model for Halifax.”
Even HRM Mayor Mike Savage has denounced the star, saying the thought of Brown performing in Halifax made him “sort of sick.”
“I don’t like the lifestyle he represents and that’s a personal view, perhaps the view of a father and citizen,” says Savage.
“But I do know we all have to be careful about assuming our views are the rights ones and we have to be careful about telling people what they can listen to, what they can read, what they can hang on the walls, what goes on in museums and things like this. It’s a tricky line, but personally, I’m not happy.”
Brown was sentenced to five years of probation and six months of community labour for assaulting his then-girlfriend Rihanna in 2009.
An online petition to remove Brown from the concert already had more than 10,000 signatures as of 12:30 p.m. Tuesday.
“Chris Brown is a women beater with a known temper as seen in many interviews. As a city, we should not have to have any of our money or reputation being used to support any artists like him,” said the petition, posted by Halifax resident Nichole Snow.
Joanne Bernard works with victims of domestic violence at Alice Housing. She says they have used the Chris Brown incident to teach young people about the cycle of violence.
“Chris Brown has been quite open about what he grew up with and so we want young people to look at the cycle of violence against women,” says Bernard.
Some groups that work with victims of domestic violence say bringing Brown to the region brings the wrong message, but others say his appearance may raise awareness about domestic abuse and that an abuser can change.
“They aren’t always stuck in a role once being abusive and violent, always being abusive and violent that people can change,” says Jane Donovan of New Start, a group that works with people trying to stop the cycle of abuse through counseling.
“I think it is important that people need to step up and show that they have changed.”
A representative for the artist responded to the controversy, saying:
"It's a shame that some people are so short-sighted and uninformed. Chris is an award-winning artist whose goal is to inspire and entertain. He engages in many philanthropic endeavors to support his community and communities worldwide including the Jenesse Center Domestic Violence Intervention Program, Best Buddies, AIDS Project Los Angeles, Kids Wish Network, Get Schooled and Home Again. Chris strives to learn from his past and to grow as a person, as we should all do."
While some Maritimers are expressing disgust over Brown performing in the area, others say he has paid his dues.
“He has done things I guess to improve the way he is presented in the public, so I guess give him a chance,” says one Halifax resident.
“It's not my position to defend or endorse any of Chris Brown's past behavior. In this case, what we are promoting is the fact that Chris Brown is a multi-platinum award winning artist of international calibre,” says Drop Entertainment’s Stephen Tobin.
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