Chris Brown outburst divides fans, album soars

Tue Mar 22, 2011 6:44pm EDT
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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Singer Chris Brown angrily stormed out of a TV studio on Tuesday, reigniting controversy over his 2009 assault on singer Rihanna but helping to send his new album to the top of iTunes charts.

Brown, 21, who has struggled to repair his image after hitting and punching his then girlfriend two years ago, left behind a smashed window in his dressing room after dodging questions about the incident in an interview on ABC television's "Good Morning America".

News of the outburst divided fans of the R&B singer, while viewers of ABC's highly-rated TV competition "Dancing with the Stars" demanded the cancellation of a a planned performance by Brown on next week's show.

However, Brown's new album "F.A.M.E", on the Jive record label, was the top downloaded album on Apples' iTunes store on its first day of release Tuesday, an Apple spokesman said.

Brown's music career stalled after he pleaded guilty to assaulting Rihanna in February 2009, setting off a national debate on young, abusive relationships.

He publicly apologized, then underwent court-ordered domestic violence counseling and spent six months performing community service.

But when pressed about the incident on "Good Morning America", Brown appeared annoyed and said; "It's not really a big deal to me now, as far as that situation. I think I'm past that in my life. Today's the album day, so that's what I'm focused on."

He followed up with a Twitter message -- according to media reports and later deleted from his account -- saying "I'm so over people bringing this past shit up!!! Yet we praise Charlie sheen and other celebs for there bullshit." (Spelling and grammar are unchanged).

Some fans agreed. "We love you Chris!! There's no reason for anyone to even ask him about Rihanna anymore, ABC should have had something better to talk about as that is old," wrote supporter nthnbtlove on the MTV message boards.   Continued...

<p>Singer Chris Brown on the set of ABC's "Good Morning America" on March 22, 2011. REUTERS/Ida Mae Brown/ABC</p>