Multiple sources have confirmed to EW that representatives of Chris Brown are on the lookout for a crisis-management expert to help the pop star rehabilitate his image in light of his Feb. 8 arrest on felony battery charges. Many news organizations have reported that Brown argued with his girlfriend, Rihanna, after a pre-Grammy party, which resulted in both singers canceling their Grammy appearances. The singer and sometime actor turned himself into police on Feb. 8 and was quickly released on $50,000 bond.
Among the experts who have been recommended to Brown’s people were Alan Nierob, the veteran Hollywood publicist who advised Mel Gibson in 2006 after he spewed anti-Semitic comments at an arresting officer during a drunk-driving incident; and Howard Bragman, who repped Isaiah Washington in 2007 after Washington used an antigay slur to refer to costar T.R. Knight on the set of Grey’s Anatomy. EW has confirmed that neither Nierob nor Bragman has been hired — for now.
Meanwhile, Bragman (author of the book Where’s My Fifteen Minutes?) already has a lot to say about Brown’s arrest. Speaking to EW earlier this week, Bragman said Brown should prepare himself for months — even years — of intense scrutiny. The fallout from Brown’s arrest was swift: Wrigley suspended his Doublemint gum ad from airing on TV, the Milk Mustache campaign issued a statement that it was “taking the allegations against Chris Brown very seriously” (though Brown’s ad was already scheduled to end its run this week), and Sesame Street pulled a 2007 episode guest-starring Brown from all future airings. Meanwhile, Rihanna postponed a Feb. 13 concert scheduled in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
“What he is accused of doing is a bad thing -– and I’m talking about that in the court of public opinion,” Bragman said. “The only thing probably worse is murder, rape, and hurting an animal. This isn’t a bong hit like Michael Phelps, which everybody has done. This is serious. What he’s got going for him is that he’s young, talented, likable, and we forgive people. You can go home again, but it takes time. It’s not something you can turn around overnight. He has to strap himself in and be ready for a long ride. It’s not a comfortable ride.”