Chris Brown's Alleged Assault Charges Could Cost Him His Endorsement Deals
No. Not Chris Brown.
He's been the squeaky clean pop R&B poster boy since he hit the scene in 2005 with his #1 debut single "Run It."
He is not Michael Jackson, but he surely lit a fire under Usher's behind.
He's been dating his female counterpart Rihanna.
He even had a Doublemint commercial.
He is 19-years-old.
There are a half a dozen upcoming teen male pop R&B singers signed to major labels who wish they could achieve his success.
But if the allegations are true that Brown assaulted a woman, his career will be in jeopardy.
According to the reports from the most reputable news sources, Brown turned himself in to authorities Sunday evening in connection with a charge of making a criminal threat. After being interviewed by police, he was released on a $50,000 bond.
Brown is being accused of assaulting a woman Sunday early morning and fleeing the scene, leaving her in a car in the Hancock Park section of Los Angeles. As a result of the issue, Brown canceled his performance at Sunday's 51st Grammy Awards where he was nominated for two trophies, best pop collaboration for his song "No Air" with Jordin Sparks and best male R&B performance for his ballad "Take You Down."
It is unclear whether or not his girlfriend pop star Rihanna was the victim, however, insiders are speculating that it was the "Umbrella" singer who made the 911 call to police, complaining of being attacked.
Rihanna also withdrew from her scheduled performance from the Grammys.
The couple was last seen together Saturday night when they attended the annual pre-Grammy party hosted by music veteran Clive Davis. Reports indicate that they were happy.
On Sunday a spokesperson for Rihanna told People magazine that the singer was well, but did not confirm whether she was involved in the altercation.
I hate to speculate on matters like this until all of the facts have been revealed. But I do want to consider what the ramifications might be for Chris Brown if he is found guilty of hitting a woman.
Aside from potentially serving jail time, Chris could face a backlash from his fans and the companies that endorse him.
Wrigley said Monday that it will be suspending its Chris Brown ad campaign for Doublement gum. In a statement the company said it would delay any advertising or related marketing until the situation is resolved, AP reported. Wrigley added that Brown should be "afforded the same due process as any citizen."
Advertisers and sponsors are quick to disassociate themselves from artists with controversial histories. Ludacris lost an endorsement deal with Pepsi in 2002 when The O'Reilly Factor host Bill O'Reilly attacked the soft drink giant for supporting an artist whom O'Reilly described to have socially irresponsible lyrics. And last year, Verizon pulled the plug on its sponsorship of Gwen Stefani's tour after opening act Akon was seen on a web clip dirty dancing with an underage girl at one of his club dates.
Just last week, we saw the consequences Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps faced when photos surfaced of the 23-year-old swimmer smoking marijuana via a bong pipe.
This could potentially affect Chris' invitation to other award shows and might even prompt fans to not support his upcoming concerts.
Respected hip-hop historian and journalist Dave "Davey D" Cook said that Brown losing endorsement deals is hardly the key issue. He wants to know how the community will be affected by having role models in Brown and Rihanna entangled in a widely publicized domestic matter. "The music industry, they'll circle the wagons and protect him," Cook said via email. "They'll spin the story and even go out after the victim which is happening now with Rihanna, who is catching heat from people accusing her of snitching."
Cook adds that he would like to see both Brown and Rihanna get help, but he believes that the music business will first put emphasis on keeping Brown's career afloat. "Chris Brown is a hot commodity making money in a crumbling industry that celebrates abusive culture, i.e. pimping," Cook said. "He'll be protected and held up to high esteem just like Ike Turner, Dr. Dre and Big Pun and numerous other artists and entertainers accused of domestic violence."
Many of Chris and Rihanna's fans are already forming opinions about the allegations.
After the news reports were released, fans expressed their opinions on social networking sites.
I've read many status updates on Facebook that conveyed anger towards Chris Brown.
Ironically, few harshly condemn Brown. Some even take his side, citing rumors that Rihanna may have provoked a fight between the couple.
The comments on Brown's MySpace page clearly support the artist. One reminded him that he is innocent until proven guilty, while another told him not to worry because everyone makes mistakes.
We will see how the reaction develops as more of the story comes to light.
Brown is scheduled to go to court on March 5.
Return to Davey D's Hip Hop Corner