The TV Column: Chris Brown’s latest move: spin control over ‘GMA’ outburst
By Lisa de Moraes,
Chris Brown and ABC News’s “Good Morning America” ratcheted up the spin control after the rapper’s Tuesday-morning clash morphed into a major media story.
Brown went on BET’s “106 & Park” program Wednesday night to say that he got ambushed by “Good Morning America.” He also said that he was taking the high road and that, to that end, his fans — Team Breezy — should stop the threats made to “GMA” host Robin Roberts.
“GMA,” meanwhile, said that it accepted Brown’s apology and that, no, the show did not ambush him when Roberts asked him a question about his 2009 guilty plea for beating then-girlfriend Rihanna.
One day after throwing a temper tantrum in his dressing room at “GMA’s” Times Square headquarters, Brown went on “106 & Park” to promote his new album and to make an apology of sorts for his outburst — or, as Brown likes to call it, letting off steam.
In case you’ve been hiding under your bed this week — and who could blame you? — Brown had gone on the ABC News morning infotainment show Tuesday to plug his new album and not to take any questions about having pleaded guilty in his Rihanna abuse case.
Except Roberts, while interviewing Brown, brought up the subject, by way of noting that the restraining order against him has recently been relaxed.
But Brown got mad — though not mad enough to forget to sing a number from his new album.
After that bit of business was concluded, he hightailed it to his dressing room and took off his shirt. A window in his dressing room ran into a rogue cooler that was lurking in the room. Brown, not wanting to hang around in a room where windows were slamming into dangerous coolers, exited the building, leaving behind his shirt to fend for itself.
And the Twitter heavens opened up.
“First of all, are you okay?” “106 & Park” host Rocsi — a.k.a. Raquel Roxanne Diaz — asked Brown solicitously at the start of the interview.
Fortunately, the cooler had not attacked Brown.
“I’m great. . . . After the incident, you saw me out with my people just trying to enjoy life and enjoy this experience of having my album out,” Brown said breezily.
“I want to apologize to anybody who was startled in the [‘GMA’] office, anybody who was offended or . . . looked disappointed at my actions. Because I was disappointed in the way I acted,” Brown said.
“We appreciate he apologized to the staff, because they were shaken by his violent outburst,” Roberts said the next morning on “GMA.”
Back to Brown on BET:
The problem had been a failure to communicate, Brown explained.
“When I do shows or when I do interviews, we always send out . . . a talking points sheet,” Brown explained to the BET audience. “And if the network or whoever isn’t complying with what we want to do — so we can equally accomplish a goal — we usually kind of back out and wait until it’s a better situation.”
At his “GMA” appearance, he said, “we were supposed to perform. The talking points were positive and creative, and everything that was sent to me was about the album.”
Instead, he explained, he got “thrown off” and felt sucker punched when Roberts asked about whether he’d recently seen Rihanna.
“I felt like, okay, they told us this just to they can get us on the show — they exploit me,” Brown said of “GMA.”
But Wednesday morning, “GMA” continued to insist that Brown was aware he was going to be interviewed and that he had been told “his past” would be brought up.
“Chris Brown was invited on ‘Good Morning America’ to perform and to be interviewed,” ABC News said in a statement, which was read on-air on Thursday’s “GMA,” during a taped bit about the “Backstage Drama.”
“There were no talking points offered,” ABC News said.
Back to Brown on BET:
“So I took it very, very hard. And I really kind of kept my composure throughout the interview, although you could see me upset,” Brown prattled on. “I kept my composure and did my performance, and when I got back, I just let off steam in the back.
“I didn’t try to hurt anyone,” Brown continued. “I just wanted to release the anger that I had inside me. . . . I felt like I worked so hard for this music, and I love my fans, and I love to be able to make positive music that I felt like people kept just trying to take it away from me. So, yes, I got very emotional. And I apologize for acting like that.”
Then Brown addressed his fans:
“I want to tell Team Breezy, if you love me, if you love the whole movement we’re doing — all the music that I’m putting out — please, please know that everybody’s beautiful. You’re beautiful, you know, Robin Roberts!” he said.
Brown said of Roberts, while still addressing Team Breezy: “Do not send any threats, any things, because I’ve been hearing stuff over Twitter and all this stuff — we don’t need that.”
He was referring to tweets that Team Breezy has been churning out since his “GMA” appearance. “TeamBreezyLove,” for instance, hopes that Roberts will “burn in hell drenched in gasoline,” and “NediLovesBreezy” would prefer that Roberts get “hit by 10 buses.” Most ambitious, “_ChrisBrownWife” has promised to “get on the 1st plan to nyc and beat” Roberts.
“We, as a movement, move as positive people. We love everybody. Us, as a generation of kid and adults, we need to take a stand and be more positive and kind of focus on the real issues in life, and the real positive side of things,” he said.
“It’s time to move on,” Roberts agreed Thursday morning. “We wish him the absolute best, and this, too, shall pass.”
Unmanned National tower
Discovery Communications executives were among those aboard flights that landed at Reagan National Airport early Wednesday while the air-traffic control tower was unmanned.
Eileen O’Neill, group president for Discovery Communications’s Discovery Channel and TLC, and Discovery Channel President Clark Bunting were flying back to Washington from Chicago on United Airlines. They were returning from the company’s upfront presentation, at which programming plans are discussed with ad execs.
But they had no idea they’d been players in yet another potential air-travel-gone-wrong documentary until Thursday morning, O’Neill told The TV Column.
“I was just flying in and aggravated — we’d been waylaid due to weather, and I was anxious to get down. It had been a really long night,” said O’Neill, who describes herself as one of the many who are uncomfortable flying.
When she got Google alerts later Wednesday that there had been a couple of landings at National when the tower was not manned, she says she thought, “I was glad . . . it wasn’t me — phew!”
Then Wednesday night, she read newspaper accounts of the two flights that had been forced to land without an air-traffic controller.
“So I e-mailed the article to my assistant and Clark and his assistant, and this morning I sent an e-mail to our travel head and said, ‘Could this possibly have been my flight?’ and she e-mailed back and said that, yes, it definitely was my flight.”
O’Neill, coincidentally, was involved with her Silver Spring-based company’s coverage of U.S. Airways Flight 1549. That plane had to ditch in January 2009 into the Hudson River about six minutes after taking off from LaGuardia Airport, making a celebrity out of flight Capt. Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger.
O’Neill was president of TLC when the network greenlit “Brace for Impact” — a biopic documentary focusing on Sully, which it telecast last year.
(Discovery Channel also telecast the one-hour documentary “Hudson Plane Crash: What Really Happened” in March 2009. Among the passengers on that flight was former Discovery honcho Billy Campbell.)
Will Discovery or TLC fast track a docu on the Washington airport tower mess? Guess what — they’d already been pitched at least one project about air-traffic towers and air-traffic controllers before this week’s incident. “It’s enough to make me go and look for it” among the pitches, she said.
“I’m like the Kevin Bacon of flying — but in a good way,” says O’Neill, noting that one of her relatives was recently on a plane that was on the ground in Japan when the earthquake struck; the relative got out safely.
(We will make sure O’Neill is not on any flight we make in the near future.)
The Federal Aviation Administration reports Thursday that the control-tower supervisor who failed to respond to the two planes has been suspended while the incident is investigated.