GOP faults Burke for playing Chris Brown song

 

October 1, 2014

MILWAUKEE Republicans on Tuesday accused Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mary Burke of showing a "cavalier attitude" toward domestic violence in using a song by pop star Chris Brown before an appearance with first lady Michelle Obama. But Burke's campaign said the song was an unauthorized addition to its playlist and won't be used again.

Burke and Obama campaigned together Monday at Milwaukee's Wisconsin Center, where Brown's hit song "Forever" played over the audio system before the two spoke.

Brown was convicted of felony assault for attacking his then-girlfriend, pop star Rihanna, hours before the 2009 Grammy awards. His probation in that case was revoked earlier this year after another arrest for hitting a man outside a Washington hotel, and in May, a judge in California ordered him to serve an additional 131 days in jail.

Lauren Clark, communications director for the Republican Party of Wisconsin, said in a statement that the song choice showed a "cavalier attitude toward domestic violence" on the part of Democrats, particularly "on the heels of Debbie Wasserman Schultz' offensive comments earlier this month."

Schultz, a Florida congresswoman and chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, has apologized for saying during an event in Milwaukee that Republican Gov. Scott Walker has "given women the back of his hand."

Burke is locked in a tight race with Walker, who released an ad Tuesday touting his efforts to help fight domestic violence.

Burke's spokesman Joe Zepecki said that Burke's campaign provided a CD for use during Monday's event, but that the company handling sound added unapproved tracks from its library, including "Forever."

"The Burke campaign did not choose to play a song by that artist, and will not be playing any songs by that artist at future events," Zepecki said in an email.

The GOP also pointed to five other songs played during the event that it said were inappropriate, including "Animal" by Conor Maynard, which the GOP characterized as "sexually violent."

Mike Ferraro, director of productions for Universal Audio Video Productions, confirmed those five songs were on a loop of "upbeat" music the sound technician used to fill the roughly two hours before the event started and an unscheduled 10-minute break before Burke spoke. The company screens songs for explicit language, Ferraro said.

Walker has had his own problems with song choice. Liberal rocker John Mellencamp has publicly chided Walker for using his songs "Pink Houses" and "Small Town" before campaign events in April and during the 2012 recall spurred by anger over Walker's signature legislation eliminating collective bargaining for most public employees. Mellencamp says he supports union rights.

Brown's representatives did not immediately respond to an email requesting comment.

 


Associated Press