Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Chris Brown in hot water at home and in Halifax

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HALIFAX -- Two sponsors have pulled their support from a summer music festival in Halifax after public outcry over the decision to have controversial American R&B singer Chris Brown headline the event.

Halifax-based spa Touch of Radiance announced Monday it was withdrawing its sponsorship of the concert, two days after telecommunications giant Rogers did the same.

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"We just found that his past and what happened with him does not align well with our values as a company," said Jose Martins, who co-owns the beauty spa with his wife.

Brown, 24, pleaded guilty to assaulting then-girlfriend Rihanna in February 2009. He hit, choked and bit the R&B star during an argument in Los Angeles following a pre-Grammy Award party.

He is scheduled to perform at a concert on Aug. 31, but his visit has already stoked a torrent of criticism on social media and even from the mayor, who told the Halifax Chronicle Herald over the weekend that the idea of someone like Brown performing in the city makes him sick.

Promoter Stephen Tobin, owner of Drop Entertainment Group, said Brown was invited because of his musical talent and popularity.

"When you're dealing with an artist of the size and calibre of Chris Brown, there's bound to be conflicting opinions," Tobin said Monday.

"I believe it's a very slippery slope when we start trying to censor or to dictate who can or cannot perform in this province," said Tobin.

The singer has other problems at present: Los Angeles prosecutors have moved to revoke his probation after he was charged last month with misdemeanour hit-and-run and driving without a valid licence.

Brown has been on felony probation since 2009.

On May 12, Brown allegedly rear-ended a car in the San Fernando Valley and refused to give the other driver his insurance information. A woman in the car with Brown provided her driver's licence, but Brown did not provide his until his lawyer had it delivered to the other driver two days later.

-- The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 16, 2013 $sourceSection0

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