Nickelodeon said it has no plans to remove Chris Brown as a nominee for its annual Kids' Choice Awards, despite the singer's felony charges for allegedly beating up his girlfriend Rihanna.
Brown is nominated for favorite male singer and favorite song for "Kiss Kiss." Rihanna, who police say was allegedly punched, bitten and choked by Brown in the early morning hours before last month's Grammy Awards, is nominated for best song, too.
An online petition asking Nickelodeon to remove Brown and Rihanna as nominees had 4,655 signatures Tuesday.
"Like all our KCA nominees, Chris Brown was nominated by kids several months ago based on his body of work as a performer, and the kids who vote will ultimately decide who wins in the category," Dan Martinsen, Nickelodeon spokesman, said.
The awards show is scheduled for March 28. It is usually Nick's biggest event of the year for its youthful audience, and Dwayne Johnson, the former wrestler turned actor, is the host.
Nick said it has gotten hundreds of calls protesting the nomination. Brown was nominated before the incident with Rihanna, and the honor had received little notice until the singer posted a note last week on his Facebook urging his fans to vote for him.
The online petitioners say Brown's name "should have been removed from contention" the moment the charges were filed. Rihanna is named in their petition because she hasn't broken off her relationship with Brown, the petitioners said.
Nickelodeon drew up its list of award nominees from surveys its young viewers completed late last year, the network said. The nominees were announced on Feb. 6 — two days before the Grammys.
People can vote through Nick's Web site on the awards as often as they want until shortly before the ceremony airs live in two and a half weeks. Besides Rihanna, Brown is competing with Beyonce and Katy Perry in the best song competition. Other male singer nominees are Jesse McCartney, Kid Rock and T-Pain.
Nick said that whoever gets the most votes in their category wins the award. However, the network doesn't announce the vote totals, so there is no way to independently verify the winners.
Brown isn't the only nominee with a whiff of controversy. Michael Phelps, nominated as favorite male athlete, was photographed smoking from a marijuana pipe last fall.