One day following the untimely death of popular recording artist Whitney Houston, the February 12 Grammy Awards attracted a total audience of 39.9 million, up nearly 50% from 26.7 million last year and the largest viewership since 1984. Houston's death likely drew many viewers who have not watched award shows for some time, or really ever, that may have been taken aback when seeing the applauded performances and Grammy win for Chris Brown. A name many have not heard since 2009, when Brown made national news after pleading guilty to felony assault of then girlfriend, fellow artist Rihanna:
The Staples Center cheers and Grammy award given to Brown came with controversy, as many believe a man with Brown's criminal record should not be celebrated. Brown has previously lashed out at those who have not forgotten the assault, notably breaking a window at ABC's Midtown Manhattan office in 2011 after being asked unexpected questions about the incident during a "Good Morning America" interview.
Shockingly, among many tweets condemning acceptance of Brown back into popular culture, several women Tweeted troubling messages during Brown's performance, indicating that they were still interested in him regardless of his well-known 2009 conviction.
The View's Sherri Shepherd criticized the Tweets during Tuesday's broadcast but did not receive an ovation of her own until she defended Brown, arguing that despite his violent behavior he "deserves another chance." Mediaite reports that Shepherd opined that people were being too hard on the entertainer, saying that he was “reformed,” and going so far as to say he could even be seen as a “role model.”
Other women in the entertainment industry are not brushing off Brown's prior transgressions so easily.
Country music star Miranda Lambert came out against Brown immediately at the awards ceremony last Sunday, tweeting “I don’t get it. He beat on a girl,” and Entertainment Weekly reports that Lambert took jabs at the convicted felon during her performance at the University of Massachusetts Thursday:
"Lambert produced a poster for audiences reading 'Take Notes Chris Brown' just prior to her performance of “Gunpowder and Lead.” The subject of the tune? A woman who decides to kill her abusive husband.
Said Lambert after showing the poster to her fans: 'Get a good picture now, put it on Twitter … I’ve been in a world of hurt with Chris Brown fans lately … but see, I just have to speak my mind because where I come from, beating up on a woman is never okay.' She continued: 'So that’s why my daddy taught me early on in life how to use a shotgun.'”
ABC News reports that Brown responded quickly to Lambert's criticism, tweeting "HATE ALL U WANT BECUZ I GOT A GRAMMY Now! That's the ultimate F---OFF!"
ABC News on the growing celebrity feud not on record sales, reality TV drama or artistic competition, but the cheering of a man who may have apologized but still brutally beat a woman:
To make the entire controversy even more unsettling, there are rumors circulating that Chris Brown and Rihanna are getting back together professionally to produce a new single, and were seen together at Rihanna's birthday party.