Art and Entertainment

rihanna and Chris brown grammy fight
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Why Has Chris Brown Lost Deals and Radio Play So Soon After Arrest?

February 12, 2009 03:01 PM
by Rachel Balik
Arrested for allegedly attacking his girlfriend Rihanna, Chris Brown has been dropped from the radio and endorsements without being officially charged.

After Arrest, Chris Brown Dropped Like a Bad Habit

There are no official reports or charges, but after singer Chris Brown was arrested for allegedly hitting his girlfriend Rihanna, companies, television programs and even radio stations are rushing to dissociate themselves from the successful singer. He has lost a sponsorship deal with Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company (makers of Doublemint gum), his songs are being pulled from radio stations, he will no longer make a scheduled appearance at the NBA All-Star game and reports that even “Sesame Street” has vowed to stop airing the 2007 show on which he appeared.

But a Chicago Tribune entertainment blogger reports that one radio station program director suggested that rashly pulling a musician’s songs was just “cheap publicity.” The first station to suspend Brown’s songs was Cleveland’s 96.5 KISS FM, owned by Clear Channel; an Indianapolis station also suspended play. Both stations stated that their decisions were in response to enraged calls from listeners.

Background: Chris Brown and Rihanna

Instead of performing at the Grammy awards, singing couple Rihanna and Chris Brown ended up in the hospital and in jail, respectively. E! Online reported that Brown turned himself in to the LAPD.

Rolling Stone reported that although the couple was together and happy on Saturday night at a pre-Grammy party, there was a 911 call at 12:30 a.m. on Sunday morning. Neither singer was able to perform at the Grammys, and Rihanna ended up in the hospital. Rumors about what precipitated the fight abound; one theory is that Rihanna became angered at seeing an ex-girlfriend’s number in Brown’s phone.

Related Topic: Celebrities who lose sponsorship

Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps has been all over the news after pictures appeared of the athlete smoking marijuana. The Kellogg’s company has garnered a fair amount of attention for deciding not to renew an endorsement contract with Phelps. The Washington Times reported that so far, the other companies that Phelps has partnered with seem to have no concerns about maintaining deals with the athlete. The paper argues that while Speedo may be concerned about Phelps’ performance in the pool, Kellogg’s has an image to represent for young children.

After top model Kate Moss was exposed in the media as a cocaine user, she lost three of her major endorsement deals. The model had contracts with H&M, Burberry and Chanel before all three companies decided to pull her from upcoming ad campaigns. H&M had intended to use the model to help launch a new collection by Stella McCartney. H&M initially planned on continuing to use the model in its campaign, but protests from the public caused the Swedish-based company to change its plans. While Chanel simply decided not to renew an expiring contract, Burberry went so far as to cancel an entire fall ad campaign.

All the companies stated they were previously unaware of the model’s drug use. Although drugs are implicitly present in the modeling culture, their use is not typically thrown in the face of the public. But the pictures that surfaced of Moss snorting cocaine were quite unambiguous. Even so, The New York Times reported that H&M, the first company to cancel its contract with Moss, did not terminate until Moss confirmed that she had, in fact, used the drug.

The barrage of letters and phone calls complaining that H&M needed to set an example for the teenagers that shopped at the store were also a factor. But all of the model’s deals didn’t fall through: Christian Dior, Gloria Vanderbilt and H. Stern made no immediate decisions about canceling contracts.

After Sharon Stone said China deserved the 2008 earthquake for its treatment of Tibet, Dior decided to drop a Chinese ad campaign featuring the actress. At the Cannes film festival, Stone said in an interview that the earthquakes might be an instance of karma, and although she apologized and agreed to contribute to earthquake relief efforts, Dior felt that she could no longer be the face of the campaign in China.

But some stars seem to escape even dramatic scandals relatively unscathed. After basketball star Kobe Bryant was charged with sexual assault, Ferrero U.S.A., the makers of Nutella, conspicuously failed to renew his endorsement contract. The company insisted that they had made their decision before he was charged. Still, a public statement reported by ESPN stated the decision was fueled by marketing plans and “considering the recent developments.” But Bryant’s other partners—Sprite, McDonald's, Nike and Spalding—made no changes in their contracts with the star.

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