One week after being arrested on suspicion of making criminal threats during the course of an altercation with his girlfriend, Rihanna, pop singer Chris Brown released a mea culpa to the press: “Words cannot begin to express how sorry and saddened I am over what transpired. I am seeking the counseling of my pastor, my mother and other loved ones and I am committed, with God’s help, to emerging a better person.” It goes on to refute claims that Chris took to his Facebook page for the purpose of smack-talking Rihanna and making backchannel statements about the incident:
Much of what has been speculated or reported on blogs and/or reported in the media is wrong. While I would like to be able to talk about this more, until the legal issues are resolved, this is all I can say except that I have not written any messages or made any posts to Facebook, on blogs or any place else. Those posts or writings under my name are frauds.
The news that Brown was using Facebook to tell his side of the story sprouted up last week, and while it was never 100% verified—a blurry screenshot purporting to be “Brown’s official private Facebook page” was the only “proof” given, and those things are really easy to fake—it spread like kudzu across the blogs. Yay games of telephone! (And yes, I know that we’re in a one-word-against-the-other situation here and that spokespeople train their clients to lie just as much as gossipmongers do, but a blurry, watermarked-to-death screenshot does not “proof” make.)
Meanwhile, a Los Angeles Times story tells us that Brown’s days as an endorser of wholesome products like gum and milk are likely done—and goes on to say that Rihanna’s multifaceted endorsements may be in jeopardy as well. Wait, what?
Marketing experts experienced with celebrity endorsements predicted companies would avoid additional deals with both and would be especially wary of working with Brown.
“I would not want to say that it is a death sentence, but it is certainly going to be very difficult for him to secure future endorsements,” said Ann Green, a senior vice president at Millward Brown, a New York-based marketing research company.
Although Rihanna has not been accused of doing anything wrong, some companies may shun her as well, she said.
“The reason why she has been used as a celebrity endorser is that she represents something very positive and in particular a strong female role model, and when she is associated with a situation like this it can have an impact,” Green said.
Ah, blaming the victim. That never gets old!