Chris Brown's latest anti-gay P.R. disaster

Update: Publicist sends out statement refuting magazines allegations of Brown's presence at basketball game

By Drew Grant

Published July 13, 2011 6:14PM (EDT)

Chris Brown's mouth gets him into trouble again.
Chris Brown's mouth gets him into trouble again.


It's been only four months since Chris Brown stormed off the set of "Good Morning America" (breaking a glass window on his way out) after Robin Roberts pressed him on being arrested for assaulting his then girlfriend, Rihanna. That hot temper of his certainly didn’t win him any new fans, and even his supporters were criticized for coming to his defense. Despite all the awards the man is able to win for his music, he is P.R. poison.

Now there is news of Chris using anti-gay slurs during a pickup basketball game. According to a Radar source:

“He got really ticked off when things didn’t go his way during the game, saying, ‘That’s gay!’ and ‘You’re a f*gg*t a**!’ to the other players,” an eyewitness tells Star exclusively.

When another player didn’t pass him the ball, the 22-year-old Forever singer, perhaps best known for beating up Rihanna, fired off more slurs, calling him a “f*gg*t” and saying it was a “gay” move.

Add just one more log to the pyre of Brown's public image. He's made homophobic slurs before (in 2010 on Twitter), he hit Rihanna, he has a notoriously bad temper … isn't this just another checkmark next to his name?

Well, yes and no. Again, this was Brown playing a game of basketball with his friends. He said some ugly words, ones that are unfortunately used in pickup games (and elsewhere!) all over the country. (Not that this excuses it.) The part where Radar was shocked to learn that Chris' bodyguards stopped people from taking photos or video of the game (even if they were members of the club!) seems to be a little part of the underlying problem here … why wouldn't a gym ban photographs and video-taking from its rooms?

Not that I'm trying to deflect the blame. Brown has openly sought publicity – on "Good Morning America," on Twitter, and with his tour -- and then proceeded to have very public meltdowns during each. The difference in this situation, and maybe it's a small one, is that Brown was playing a private basketball game in a gym. No matter if he's a terrible homophobe or not ... if someone was following you around 24/7 and capturing everything you said and did in private, would you be able to claim that you hadn't made one offensive comment that entire time?

Feel free to judge Chris Brown: He seems like a real dick. But you can probably save the moralizing for another occasion, like when he starts ranting on a public platform again. I'm sure it won't take too long for that to happen.

UPDATE: Chris Brown's publicist has released the following statement:

"A totally fictitious article ran in the current Star Magazine (issue date July 25, 2011) accusing our client Chris Brown of doing something that he did not do. The article claimed that on June 29, 2011, Chris participated in a pick up basketball game at 24 Hour Fitness Center in LA and said some very inappropriate statements. The incident described did not occur, nor did the Star ever contact Chris' representatives to request comment or confirmation. Chris was filming a video with AceHood on June 29 and never left the set. He spent the entire day with dozens of members of the production team filming the video for "Body To Body" at 1870 Sunset Plaza in West Hollywood. The Star accompanied the fabricated story with a photo of Chris playing basketball in New York that was taken on the day of his F.A.M.E. CD release in March. Chris Brown's management is considering taking appropriate legal action against the paper. Unfortunately this bogus account is being picked up by additional media outlets. We stand behind our client and want to set the record straight that this did not happen."

Drew Grant

Drew Grant is a staff writer for Salon. Follow her on Twitter at @videodrew.

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