In an environment where the majority of the audience are used to their closet skeletons being splashed all over the tabloids, MacFarlance decided to call them out anyway.
Speaking about the multiple-nominated film Django Unchained, MacFarlane described the story as "a man fighting to get back his woman, who's been subjected to unthinkable violence. Or as Chris Brown and Rihanna call it, a date movie."
I get a guilty kick out of hosts bringing up celebrity dirty laundry at the Oscars, and I was able to receive MacFarlanes comments throughout the night as "roasts with an edge".
However, MacFarlane's Chris Brown/ Rihanna comment was generally not well-received. Perhaps a bad move for MacFarlane, the comment reminded me of an incident related to something PRs spend a lot of focus on, audiences.
In November of last year, I learned Chris Brown cancelled a concert in Guyana after a women's rights group protested his appearance. Guyana is a close distance to Rihanna's home country of Barbados, and Brown apparently backed out because the protest made him feel uncomfortable.
This abuse scandal angered many people - especially women (arguably). Therefore, women are an audience. However, sub audiences within this category include (but are not limited to):
- women in abusive relationships
- women in healthy relationships
- single women
- women's right groups
The fact Brown is still praised and welcomed at major events (this year's Grammys, for example) is hard to understand. Brown's publicist had a difficult task to do after Brown's assault on Rihanna, which basically involved cleaning his image. Brown's target audiences would've been addressed at the time, but it's also important to consider other audience-related threats.
Women's rights groups decided to get involved in preparation for Brown's Guyana concert, in addition to women speaking out who are removed from this group. My PR class discussed issues management today and the considerations (i.e. potential threats to clearly communicating your messages) to make note of when writing communications briefing notes.
The women's rights group's protests were a perfect example of briefing note "considerations" coming to life. If done correctly, Brown's PR person would have crafted key messages to ease their dislike of Brown, perhaps persuading how Brown would only be in Guyana to give a musical performance.
Seth MacFarlane's comment was proof Brown's scandal has not lost steam. The ongoing criticism is either an indication that PR efforts to help Brown are poor, or that society still recognizes what he did was wrong despite high-profile appearances like the Grammys.