Chris Brown

Photo from Wikimedia Commons

What was the Accusation?

American singer/songwriter Chris Brown was arrested Feb. 8, 2009, hours after he fought with his then-girlfriend Rihanna in a rented sports car after a pre-Grammy party. According to a police affidavit, Brown tried to push the 21-year-old singer from the car and repeatedly hit her and choked her. He left the scene and later turned himself in to authorities during the Grammy Awards, where he and Rihanna were slated to perform. Rihanna recounted the incident in an interview with Diane Sawyer on 20/20.  She told Sawyer that “it escalated into him being violent toward me, and it was ugly.” A CNN journalist wrote: “Officers at the scene observed numerous contusions and abrasions to the victim’s face and forehead, as well as bruising to her left arm near the bicep. They also saw abrasions to her arms near both wrists and on her upper chest near her collarbone and around her neck. There were abrasions on her left leg and on the inside of her upper lips.” Rihanna described the incident more succinctly: “He beat me up.” Brown was later charged with assault likely to cause great bodily harm and making criminal threats. He pleaded guilty to the felony assault charge and was sentenced to 5 years probation and 6 months of community service.  Brown’s apologia consisted of a prepared video statement released by TMZ and an interview with Robin Roberts of ABC News. 

Key Apologia Strategies:

Mortification, Corrective Action, Bolstering



Sample Statements from Brown’s TMZ Video:

  • I’m not going to sit here and make any excuses. What I did was inexcusable.

  • I wish I had the chance to live those few moments again, but unfortunately I can’t.

  • I am very sad and very ashamed of what I’ve done. My mother and my spiritual teachers have taught me way better than that.

  • I have told Rihanna countless times, and I’m telling you today, that I am truly, truly sorry that I wasn’t able to handle the situation differently and better.

  • As many of you know, I grew up in a home where there was domestic violence, and I saw first-hand what uncontrolled rage could do. I have sought and I am continuing to seek help to ensure that what occurred in February can never happen again.

  • What I did was unacceptable, 100 percent. I can only ask and pray that you forgive me, please.


Chris Brown apologizes for Rihanna assault (2009, July 20). TMZ. Retrieved from:

Chris Brown apologizes for Rihanna beating (2009, July 20). CBS News. Retrieved from:

Duke, A. (2009, August 26). Brown sentenced for Rihanna assault; other incidents surface. CNN. Retrieved from:

Rodriguez, J. (2009, November 7). Rihanna details Chris Brown Assault in ’20/20′ interview. MTV News. Retrieved from:

Vozick-Levinson, S. (2009, July 20). Chris Brown apologizes for assaulting Rihanna. EW Online. Retrieved from: