The intentional leak of two songs featuring collaborations between Chris Brown and ex-girlfriend Rihanna is sparking controversy across the Web.
The pop stars have been teasing Twitter followers with hints at a duet, and Monday they released remixes of Rihanna's "Birthday Cake" and Brown's "Turn Up the Music."
Writers on The Daily Beast, The Los Angeles Times and The New York Times have pointed out that while the collaboration may have been little more than a publicity stunt, its affect on the couple and their fans could have serious consequences.
In 2009, Brown was arrested for assaulting Rihanna on the eve of the Grammy Awards. Despite the seriousness of the situation, Daily Beast reporter Allison Samuels notes that "the young stars seemed, and still appear, completely unaware of the conflicting and damaging message theyre sending their young fans and of the slippery slope they both stand upon. Could they be oblivious to the two that came before them?"
The two she refers to are Whitney Houston and singer Bobby Brown, whose tumultuous relationship, Samuels says, is a reminder of what can happen to couples who hold onto the "wrong one."
New York Times writer Jon Caramanica also notes the danger in the professional and personal reunion, stating that the collaboration "displays an advanced understanding of marketing and an understanding of moral obligations and ethics thats not much more than rudimentary. It is a woman publicly accepting her abuser nothing more, nothing less."
Los Angeles Times writer Gerrick D. Kennedy pointed out the conflict between the explicit, sex-charged lyrics of the remixes and the statement Rihanna made in an interview with Diane Sawyer in 2009 about her brief reunion with Brown following the assault.
"When I realized that my selfish decision for love could result in some young girl getting killed, I could not be easy with that part," said the singer. "I couldn't be held responsible for telling them 'Go back.' Even if Chris never hit me again, who's to say that their boyfriend won't?" Rihanna told Sawyer.
Despite Rihanna's apparent change of heart, there has been no official confirmation of the couple dropping the "ex" from their relationship status.