R&B singer Chris Brown is beginning 2016 the way he ended 2015: as the subject of never-ending controversy. In December, Brown's history of assault led to a canceled overseas tour and a canceled TV show appearance. Now, he's being investigated for alleged battery of a female fan in Las Vegas.
The morning after Brown performed at a Vegas nightclub, police received a call from a woman who said the singer struck her and took her phone when she tried to take a photo of him. The Associated Press reported that the altercation took place at the Palms Casino Resort, where Brown was staying. By the time investigators arrived at the resort, Brown had left. He is now a suspect in a case of misdemeanor battery and misdemeanor theft.
On Saturday, Brown posted an Instagram photo of himself with a caption that includes, "I'm going to be hella rich after all the lawsuits I file from these crazy individuals who keep lying on my name. Happy NEW YEAR!"
Nicole Perna, Brown's representative, has said the claims are "unequivocally untrue" and a "complete fabrication." She told the Associated Press the woman "was escorted out of the private after-party at the Palms Casino Resort for being disruptive and out of control. Once she was in the hallway, while waiting for Chris Brown's security to bring out her phone, she had a total meltdown — throwing her purse to the ground and claiming that she 'could buy everyone in the hotel' — as witnessed by numerous people waiting to get into the party. The Palms Casino Resort security also saw her wild behavior via hotel security cameras and immediately came up to the hallway to escort her out of the hotel."
In a similar statement to Rolling Stone, Perna identified the victim's name and said the woman has a "pattern" of "making false accusations."
Brown's own pattern of committing assault is well established.
In perhaps the most highly publicized case of domestic violence in recent memory, Brown pleaded guilty to assaulting singer and then-girlfriend Rihanna in 2009. Despite widely circulated photos of Rihanna's badly bruised face, Brown reached a plea deal that earned him community service and five years probation, a punishment widely criticized as soft "celebrity justice."
While on probation, Brown punched a Maryland man in the nose outside the W Hotel in Washington. The singer and his bodyguard eventually pleaded guilty, leading to multiple stints in rehabilitation programs, a major lawsuit and a few months of jail time. Before and after these incidents, Brown's bio makes for a long string of reported altercations, including with fellow musicians Drake and Frank Ocean, as well as in the dressing room of "Good Morning America."
His criminal record has undoubtedly damaged his reputation and ability to tour. He has canceled shows after being denied entry into the U.K., Canada, and in December, Australia and New Zealand. That same month, his appearance on "The Daily Show" was canceled a day after the Daily Beast reported the show's staffers were wary about having the singer as a guest.
Yet Brown's musical success marches on. After selling 162,000 copies, his latest album "Royalty" (named after his daughter) debuted at No. 1 on Billboard's R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart last week.
This story has been updated.