Not everyone was pleased with the nominations for Best R&B during the 2023 VMAs. As Chris Brown’s name was called, “Only Murders in the Building” star Selena Gomez was caught on camera visibly sneering.
It was a fleeting moment, but a pointed one. Brown was nominated for “How Does It Feel,” his collaboration with Chlöe. Right as Brown’s name was mentioned by the announcer, Gomez’s face shifted from a neutrally pleasant smile to the above look. The Moon Man award ultimately went to SZA for “Shirt.”
Gomez has never publicly said anything negative about Brown. But the singer, songwriter and rapper doesn’t exactly have a spotless reputation in the industry. In 2009, Brown pled guilty to felony domestic assault charges for an incident with his then-girlfriend, Rihanna. That led to a sentencing of community labor, five years of probation and domestic violence counseling for Brown.
The restraining order Rihanna had against Brown was later modified at the request of both of their lawyers in 2011. Under the updated “level one order,” both singers are allowed to appear at awards shows together.
That’s far from the only legal issue Brown has faced. Over the years, Brown has been part of a fight with Drake and his entourage, an altercation with Frank Ocean over a parking spot, an alleged hit and run, a misdemeanor assault for punching a fan and was put in jail for violating his probation. And then there was the civil assault case last year.
In 2022, a woman filed a suit against Brown, accusing him of drugging and raping her at Sean “Diddy” Combs’ Miami Beach home in 2020. The woman sought $20 million in the case, which was ultimately dropped due to lack of prosecution. Brown has denied all allegations against him.
This also isn’t the first time Gomez’s expressions caught the attention of fans during the 2023 Video Music Awards. Earlier in the night, some jokingly called out Gomez’s stunned reaction to Olivia Rodrigo’s performance of “Vampire.”