He’s a celebrity who horrifically bashed his female partner. But we have plenty of those in Australia already.
Local activists recently waged a war against American RnB singer Chris Brown on the basis of his history of domestic violence ahead of his pending Australian tour.
And this week the Immigration Minister gave the 26-year-old – who was convicted in 2009 of assaulting and threatening to kill then girlfriend Rihanna – notice he intended to refuse his visa to enter the country.
Case closed. Activists win, right?
Activist group GetUp!, who led the campaign against the African-American singer, have now retracted their successful campaign and apologised for the “racist aspects” of it.
“The intention of the campaign against Chris Brown was to use a celebrity with a well-known history of violence against women to ignite a discussion about attitudes towards gendered violence,” a statement on their website reads.
“Aspects of this succeeded but we now understand the campaign also supported a racist narrative that sees men of colour unfairly targeted, and stereotyped as more violent than their white counterparts.”
National director Paul Oosting told Fairfax the campaign inadvertently fed into a migration system that unfairly targets people of colour.
“I find Chris Brown abhorrent and it’s really damaging to society that men who commit domestic violence are granted celebrity status,” he said.
“There are wide range of white Australian men who have committed acts of domestic violence who enjoy celebrity status.”
And he’s right. We have successfully campaigned to keep woman-bashing boxer Floyd Mayweather and misogynistic rapper Tyler the Creator out of the country. If Chris Brown is banned, he will be the third black American we have prevented from entering our shores this year.
The reasons behind why we don’t want men who commit (or rap about) violence against women to come here are perfectly valid and reasonable.
But why aren’t we up in arms about all the famous men who have bashed women and are already in the country? In fact, we’re not only not furious about it, but we’re perfectly happy to watch them on our TVs. They’re revered as experts in their field and hailed as heroes in our professional sporting teams.
Take Sydney Roosters player Shaun Kenny-Dowall. He is facing ten domestic violence-related charges for offences allegedly committed against his former partner, including assault, stalking and causing damage to property. But he’s still playing NRL.
There’s Gold Coast Titans player and boxer Greg Bird, who was sentenced to jail for smashing a glass into his girlfriend’s face (an act that caused facial injuries requiring surgery) but acquitted on appeal after his girlfriend testified in support of him. He was also charged with assaulting another woman, but was cleared of those charges in 2009.