Sponsor backs out of Chris Brown concert in Nova Scotia amid protests
A major sponsor has backed out of a Nova Scotia concert headlined by Chris Brown as protests mount against the R&B artist’s scheduled appearance.
Rogers Communications Inc. pulled its sponsorship amid calls from residents to boycott the Aug. 31 Energy Rush 2013 concert at Alderney Landing in Dartmouth.
Brown was sentenced to five years of probation and six months of community labor for beating his then-girlfriend Rihanna in 2009.
"I definitely didn't forgive him. It seems like the music community has but I wasn't excited to hear he was coming. I'd rather they get someone else," Halifax-area resident Heather Stanhope said.
Rogers has been sponsoring the Energy Rush concert for the past seven years, but has now withdrawn from the event.
“Rogers agreed to sponsor Energy Rush prior to Chris Brown's choice as a performer. In light of yesterday's announcement, we're withdrawing our sponsorship of the event,” Rogers said in a statement to CTV News.
Concert organizers say they are still confident that tickets will sell and that the show will go ahead as scheduled.
“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,” Drop Entertainment’s Stephen Tobin said.
Joanne Bernard, executive director at Alice Housing, an organization that helps abused women, said keeping Brown on the concert list sends the wrong message.
“Every young person who's going to be there that night is not only listening to his music, they're also listening and aware that this man has viciously assaulted his intimate partner a few years ago,” Bernard said.
Halifax-area resident Scott Peach agreed that it is not the right message.
“Halifax is bringing him in, they're saying you know, we don't care about your past, we just want the money that you can potentially bring in, and I don't think that's a good message for anybody," Halifax resident Scott Peach said.
An online petition to remove Brown from the concert list was launched Saturday.
“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.
As of 5 p.m. Saturday, 257 people signed the petition.
Tickets for the concert go on sale Wednesday.
With a report from CTV Atlantic's Suzette Belliveau