Chris Brown Pulls Out of Kids' Choice Awards

After felony abuse charges and protest petition, Brown removes name from race.

March 9, 2009, 5:47 PM

March 11, 2009— -- Chris Brown won't be a Kids' Choice winner this year.

Following his arrest in the alleged beating of girlfriend Rihanna, Brown today decided to take his name out of consideration.

"Chris very much appreciates the support of his fans and the honor they have paid him in the way of nominations for Favorite Male Singer and Favorite Song," his representatives said in a statement. "Unfortunately, the controversysurrounding the incident last month has shifted the focus from the music to whether he should be allowed to be among those nominated."

"While Chris would like to speak to his fans directly about this and other issues, pending legal proceedings preclude his doing so at this time. Once the matter before him has been resolved, he intends to do so," the statement concluded.

Brown's bow-out comes after growing outrage on parent blogs and entertainment Web sites and an online petition to have him removed from contention for the popular Kids' Choice Awards, which airs March 28 on Nickelodeon.

"Like all our KCA nominees, Chris Brown was nominated by kids several months ago based on his work as a performer, and the kids who vote will ultimately decide who wins in the category," Nickelodeon said in a statement sent to Tuesday, before Brown's decision to pull out.

The show is geared toward children ages 6 to 14, who can vote up until the show's airdate. This year's vote is expected to top last year's of 89 million, the network's publicist Marianne Romano said.

Before pulling out today, Brown was apparently lobbying for votes. According to Us Weekly, the day Brown was charged with two felonies, he posted a MySpace blog asking fans to vote for him. "Vote for Chris on the Kids' Choice Awards 2009, Thank you for your support," it read.

Psychologist Cara Gardenswartz, an expert for, questioned Nickelodeon's decision to keep Brown on the ballot.

"Nickelodeon is an adult-run network that is saying we are letting the kids decide. They are saying we don't need adults to step in and say that this is inappropriate," Gardenswartz said. "It's setting a horrible precedent and it's damaging. Kids can't differentiate between (Brown's) actions and his songs."

Brown, who faces felony charges for battery and making criminal threats that would result in death, was up for two Kids' Choice Awards: favorite male singer and favorite song for "Kiss Kiss."

Rihanna, who has reportedly reunited with Brown, is also up for two awards, favorite female singer and favorite song for "Don't Stop the Music."

Some Parents Petitioned to Get Chris Brown Off Ballot

A petition posted on the Web site that has already garnered 70 signatures asks that both performers be removed from the Kids' Choice ballot -- Brown because of the charges he's facing and Rihanna because she "refused a no-contact order and plans to continue the relationship in spite of a violent attack by Brown."

"To say that either of these people [is] setting a suitable example to be held up as 'winners' is preposterous," the petition reads.

Oprah Winfrey also had stern words for Rihanna.

"You need somebody to tell you the truth in this moment. And the truth is, guys, both Chris Brown and Rihanna, if I were your friend, I would call you up and I would say, 'Give it some time, get yourself some counseling, take care of yourself, heal yourself first,'" the talk show queen said during a roundtable discussion on her talk show Friday.

"And also, 'love doesn't hurt.' I've been saying this to women for years -- love doesn't hurt," she said. "And if a man hits you once, he will hit you again. He will hit you again. I don't care what his plea is, he will hit you again."

According to The Associated Press, Winfrey will dedicate her show Thursday to the subject of dating violence.

A report by TMZ said Brown would agree to take a plea if he can get a misdemeanor and no jail time. The site quotes a source saying that Brown's defense team believes he shouldn't be charged with a felony because Rihanna hit him first and struck him "numerous times."

Brown's attorney Mark Geragos did not return phone calls.

Rihanna's attorney Donald Etra told, "Today is not the time to comment on the details of the case."

Brown, meanwhile, has drawn the ire of most parents.

Jennifer Perillo, a blogger for, joined the petition and is rethinking whether her 5-year-old daughter should continue watching Noggin, Nickelodeon's preschool channel.

"For a channel to be all about children, that's supposed to be reinforcing positive image, to have someone like that and leave him on the ballot for what I perceive as ratings, it's disheartening," the New York mom said. "They should err on the side of caution and sensitivity. He shouldn't be promoted in any way toward children."

Should Kids Make the Call on Brown?

Not every parent thought Nickelodeon made a mistake in keeping Brown on the ballot before he bowed out.

Lynn Wilson, a contributor for, said in an e-mail to "Personally, I am disgusted by Brown's alleged conduct. If I could operate on feelings alone, I'd kick him off the ballot. However, I think our Founding Fathers were absolutely correct about the wisdom of making decisions based on fact and intellect (innocent until proven guilty), so I believe that Nickelodeon made the right choice to keep Brown's name on the ballot."

Ilina Ewen, who was physically abused by a boyfriend when she was 14, sees the situation as a missed opportunity.

"I think they could have used it as a teaching opportunity to stand up against something," said the Raleigh mom who wrote about it for "To me it feels like they don't care, they can't see the gravity."

Amy Oztan, who also writes for, said she will use the occasion to talk to her 7-year-old son Jake, who is a fan of both Brown and the Kids' Choice Awards, about what Brown is accused of.

"If Chris Brown's name remains on the ballot, I'm going to tell my son what he did and why he shouldn't win," Oztan said. "I wasn't going to tell him otherwise -- he's not that into music, so I wasn't worried about it. But Nick is throwing it in kids' faces.

"For kids, giving a person an award is an endorsement of the person, not just the performance. Kids often don't know the difference yet," Oztan said.

Los Angeles mom Jessica Gottlieb will block her 10-year-old daughter Jane and 7-year-old son Alexander from voting and watching the program this year.

"If a discussion comes up, it will be, 'Wow he's a bad guy,'" said Gottlieb, who writes for "It's not about whether he's talented, but about whether or not he belongs in prison."

Gardenswartz said that as long as Brown was a part of the show, she believed no kid under 12 should watch it. For older children, she believes parents should have a discussion with them beforehand about what a healthy relationship looks like and what to do if they find themselves in an abusive one.

The question of whether Rihanna should remain on the ballot is more complicated.

"I think that she is using very, very poor judgment but she has not committed a crime," Gardenswartz said. "She is the victim and a sad victim, but it's more complicated. With her, it should be turned into a conversation about why people stay in an abusive situation."