Thousands sign petition to stop Chris Brown concert
4 sponsors have withdrawn support from Dartmouth concert
Close to 12,000 people have signed a petition to stop American R&B singer Chris Brown from performing in Dartmouth, N.S., next month.
Nichole Snow launched the petition on Saturday urging promoter Drop Entertainment group and radio station Energy 103.5 to drop Brown, who pleaded guilty to assaulting singer and then-girlfriend Rihanna in 2009.
"He might be a great performer, but he's a really bad person. So anything to stop people like that from being glamorized, I'm for," she told CBC News.
"Even if he still plays, at least we're starting a discussion."
News of Brown's upcoming performance has rippled through social media, and four corporate sponsors withdrew their support for the show once he was confirmed as the headliner.
Molson Coors Brewing Co., esthetics company Touch of Radiance and the Halifax campus of the Centre for Arts and Technology joined Rogers on Monday in distancing themselves from the Energy Rush summer music festival at Alderney Landing on August 31.
Even Halifax Mayor Mike Savage vocalized his disapproval of this singer.
Fellow musician Classified, who played the same concert as Brown in 2011, said he expected the reaction.
"I knew it was going to cause a lot of uproar and just get people talking about it. Personally I don't agree with him, I don't think anybody who hits a woman should be put on a stage."
The opposition also seems to be spreading. A Winnipeg woman has announced she'll protest Brown's upcoming concert in Manitoba by staging a rival event: a fundraiser for domestic violence victims.
But El Jones, Halifax's poet laureate, said there needs to be a more complex conversation than the one erupting online.
On CBC’s Q with Jian Ghomeshi she said many people seem eager to demonize a black man who sports tattoos.
"Then you get a black man who, you know, embodies what we find threatening. He has tattoos, he's a rapper and all of a sudden, I think that’s easier for people to say that's evil, that's terrible," she said.
She said white celebrities with troubling pasts, including Woody Allen and Roman Polanski, have been able to continue their public work without much controversy.
Allen started a relationship with Soon-Yi Previn, the adult adopted daughter of Mia Farrow while he and Farrow were a couple.
Polanski has been unable to return to the United States since 1977 when he fled to avoid sentencing on a conviction of unlawful sex with a minor.
"We had the Rolling Stones come through and Bill Wyman raped a 13-year-old girl, essentially. I mean he slept with a 13-year-old girl, which is non-consensual," she said.
Wyman, who quit as bassist for the Rolling Stones in 1992, was 47 when he began dating Mandy Smith, who was 13 at the time. He claims to have first had sex with her when she was 14. They were married for two years beginning in 1989 when she was 18 and he was 52.
"I think people are much more comfortable in demonizing [Chris Brown] and holding him accountable."
Still, Jones said it’s not surprising people are reacting so strongly in a province still mourning the death of Rehtaeh Parsons, the teen who killed herself after she was allegedly raped and bullied.
"Nobody listened to what she had to say. She was blamed and shamed and bullied about it. So I think that is an important to conversation to have where we are saying to survivors you don't have to get over it."
The promoter behind the concert said he is not surprised by the public backlash, but says Brown should be allowed to perform.
The controversy in Halifax came as a judge in Los Angeles revoked Brown's probation on Monday after reading details of an alleged hit-and-run accident in May. But Brown was not ordered to go to jail.
The convicted singer could come to Canada by applying for a temporary resident permit.
To get one, Brown's need to enter Canada must outweigh the risks to Canadian society, as determined by a border services officer.
"What seems to concern me, however, is that the people who get them more often than not are people who are famous to you and me, but not necessarily people who are important," said immigration lawyer Lee Cohen.