A photo that shows Rhianna bruised, bloodied and battered is the real thing, and it's "terrible," the pop singer's father said today.
"Yeah, I saw it," Ronald Fenty told Usmagazine.com. "It's disturbing."
His daughter, born Robyn Rhianna Fenty -- 21 years ago today -- allegedly suffered the abuse on Feb. 8 at the hands of her boyfriend, singer Chris Brown.
"It's good and it's bad to see the picture because there's other people who were thinking differently, that [Rihanna's injuries] may not be that bad, just a little spank or a little thing," said papa Fenty, who confirmed that the shot was definitely of his daughter.
The photo was leaked to the gossip website TMZ.com, and Los Angeles police are currently investigating how.
Rihanna's face is bruised, swollen and battered and her lip bloodied in the shocking pic that purportedly shows the aftermath of an alleged beating she suffered at the hands of Brown, according to TMZ.
The harrowing close-up image a welt above each of the woman's eyebrows, marks on her cheek and around her lips, and general swelling. TMZ did not say how it obtained the photo, when it was taken or by whom.
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Late Friday, Rhianna's publicist, Amanda Silverman, released a statement.
"At the request of the authorities, Rihanna is not commenting about the incident involving Chris Brown," it read. "She wants to assure her fans that she remains strong, is doing well, and deeply appreciates the outpouring of support she has received during this difficult time.
Hours after the shocking photo of the singer was posted, the Los Angeles Police Department launched an internal investigation and asked for the public's help in finding the person who leaked it. A police news release said the image "has the appearance" of one taken during a domestic violence investigation, and classified its release as a case of serious misconduct that could result in termination.
Asked earlier Thursday whether he could confirm the photo's origin, LAPD Officer Jason Lee said only that the department had not released images of the woman who accused Brown, and would not release evidence photos. A spokeswoman for the district attorney said all evidence related to the case was still with police.
Brown was arrested Feb. 8 and booked on suspicion of making felony criminal threats to a woman that authorities have not publicly identified.
Prosecutors have asked police to provide more information before deciding what charges, if any, to pursue against Brown. Police have said the 19-year-old singer could face domestic violence charges if prosecutors think they are appropriate.
An Associated Press photo of Rihanna, taken before the party on the night of the incident, shows her with a tattoo of Roman numerals on her left shoulder; the TMZ photo shows the same numerals on the same shoulder. TMZ had previously used its site to debunk a manipulated image that depicted Rihanna with a black eye.
No public statement has been issued on behalf of Rihanna, who turned 21 on today.
Brown released a statement on Sunday, which read in part, "Words cannot begin to express how sorry and saddened I am over what transpired." The statement, which did not mention Rihanna, said Brown was consulting with loved ones, his mother and pastor.
Brown's arrest came roughly 18 hours after he and Rihanna left a pre-Grammy party honoring music mogul Clive Davis. According to police, Brown and a woman were involved in an altercation in a car traveling through the upscale Hancock Park neighborhood shortly after midnight. Police have said the woman had visible injuries, and that Brown was gone from the scene when they arrived.