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Chris Brown and Rihanna BET Award mix-up was 'human error'

June 27, 2011 | 12:41 pm


BET executive Stephen Hill is taking full responsibility for the snafu that overshadowed much of the BET Awards on Sunday.

During the telecast, "106 & Park" hosts Terrence and Rocsi brought out contest winner Tiffany Greene on stage to announce the fan-voted Coca-Cola Viewers' Choice Award, in what has become a tradition for the ceremony.

The show used tablet computers instead of traditional envelopes to reveal who had won. After tapping her tablet, Greene announced Chris Brown as the winner for his hit "Look at Me Now" (the track had also won for video of the year and for collaboration). Then, she quickly corrected herself to call Rihanna the victor.

“Well, this is awkward,” said Drake, who emerged from backstage to accept on behalf of the absent singer for their hit “What’s My Name,” as the audience reacted with confusion.

Some in the crowd immediately said they believed it was all rigged by the network. Yes, mishaps happen during award telecasts, and giving an award to the wrong person is certainly awkward on any occasion. But for the mix-up to involve Brown and Rihanna was just asking for headlines. Indeed, the moment became a trending topic online, with plenty of people blaming Greene.

An angry and certainly a little embarrassed Greene went to Twitter and wrote, "Bawling backstage. They totally [expletive] me up," before apologizing and writing, "Last night I was tweeting backstage out of pure emotion and nerves. I actually feel a lot better today and the kind words have truly helped."

Hill, BET's president of music programming and specials, has since taken full responsibility for the mistake.

"That BET Awards Viewer's Choice mix-up was due to human error," he wrote in a tweet. "And I was the human that made that error. I apologize to ALL affected."

At the conclusion of Sunday's ceremony, host Kevin Hart brought out Brown to tell him he was actually the intended winner of the trophy, along with the FANdemonium Award. But the damage was already done, considering a chunk of the audience had already started filing out of the venue and were discussing the incident.


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— Gerrick D. Kennedy

Photo: Drake accepts the viewer's choice award for Rihanna that was awarded to her by mistake at the 2011 BET Awards in Los Angeles. Chris Brown was the actual winner of the award. Credit: Mario Anzuoni / Reuters.