LOS ANGELES, May 27 (Reuters) - R&B singer Chris Brown said he is “not a monster” in a video message posted online this week ahead of a court hearing over a criminal charge that he beat pop singer Rihanna, leaving her bruised and bloodied.
Brown, who is not expected to attend the hearing set for Thursday in Los Angeles Superior Court, does not mention Rihanna by name in the video posted on the website www.justin.tv and circulated online on Wednesday.
But the 20-year-old singer of hits “Kiss Kiss” and “Run It” appears to address the accusations that he beat his girlfriend Rihanna in February while in a car in Los Angeles on the eve of the Grammy awards.
“I just wanna say ‘What up?’ because I ain’t been out there in a minute,” Brown said in the video, marking the only time he has seemed publicly to address the incident beyond an initial statement in February.
“Everybody that’s haters, they just been haters. All my real fans, I love you all. I ain’t a monster,” he said.
A representative for Rihanna, singer of hit songs such as “Umbrella,” was not immediately available to comment.
Brown is charged with assaulting Rihanna by “means of force likely to produce great bodily injury” and threatening to commit a crime “which would result in death and great bodily injury.” He faces up to four years in prison if convicted, and has previously pleaded not guilty to the charge.
In February, one week after the incident, he issued a statement saying “words cannot begin to express how sorry and saddened I am over what transpired.” He added that he had sought counseling.
At Thursday’s hearing, Brown’s attorney Mark Geragos is expected to contest the charges on grounds that a police photo of Rihanna, taken after she was beaten, should not have been leaked to the media. It showed Rihanna with her eyes closed and her lower lip bloodied and swollen. (Editing by Bob Tourtellotte and Will Dunham)