Already a member? Log In

How the AMAs Shut Down Chris Brown

Chris Brown
A planned Chris Brown performance at the AMAs was abruptly blocked by Disney/ABC. Photo: Scott Dudelson/Getty Images
Matthew Belloni
November 20, 2022

How hard is it to manage televised live events these days? Nothing on stage at the American Music Awards tonight will compare to the behind-the-scenes drama all week over a planned Chris Brown performance that was abruptly blocked by Disney/ABC. Here’s what happened, according to multiple sources on all sides of the standoff:

Jesse Collins and Stephen Hill, who are executive producing the ABC show for Dick Clark Productions, were working with Brown and his team on a medley of Michael Jackson hits with Ciara and others in tribute to the 40th anniversary of Thriller. Brown is nominated for an AMA and has appeared at several awards shows since pleading guilty to physically assaulting then-girlfriend Rihanna in 2009, among other legal skirmishes. But this would have been the first time in the #MeToo era, since the BET Awards in 2017, that a televised show had invited him to perform. And Brown complained in August that he’s basically been shadow-banned for his past behavior.