Another day, another story of Chris Brown being a monumental dickhead. This time around the rapper got into a Twitter fight with comedy writer, Jenny Johnson, eventually releasing a tirade of misogynistic abuse and then deleting his Twitter account. Again. I’ve lost count of the number of times that’s happened, but whatever. The fight started when Brown tweeted a photo of himself saying he looked old and Johnson responded with “I know! Being a worthless piece of shit can really age a person.” Brown exploded with a bunch of vulgarities, Johnson lectured him on the difference between calling someone a “hoe” and calling someone a “ho” (tips for young players: one is a garden tool) and linked him to an article about how he beat the ever-loving Christ out of Rihanna, Brown responded with more sexist vulgarities and the words “Just ask Rihanna if she mad???”, until eventually someone had the good sense to shut it down. (On a side note: do you think his PR team just want to throw themselves off a bridge every time he talks?)
So, in case you needed any more confirmation, Chris Brown clearly has some serious issues regarding his attitude toward women and on top of all that, might just be a gigantic asshole. But the part about Rihanna brings to what I actually want to talk about in this blog. You may or may not have heard that they got back together. This has put a lot of people in a bit of a tizz because we all remember the reason they broke up in the first place. For those of you who need a refresher, you can look at the photos of Rihanna’s face after the attack here cos I don’t really want them on the blog.
But the thing I always find surprising whenever this story comes up (and it comes up a lot) is that most people seem to be somehow disappointed or angry at Rihanna for going back to Chris Brown. “She’s a role model, she should know better” comes up a lot. Now, while I can’t say I’m on board with her taste in men, holy shit guys! In this scenario, where a famous woman was brutally beaten by her equally famous boyfriend, had to deal with going to the hospital and filing a police report with absolutely zero anonymity, had to deal publically with the aftermath of the attack by going on talk shows and explaining herself and reliving the events and STILL managed to channel all of that into an album, you’re choosing to get angry at the lady for being a bad role model?
Shall we talk about bad role models for a second? Chris Brown beat the bejesus out of Rihanna. The court details were released back in February and they’re horrific. Have an excerpt:
Robyn F. turned to face Brown and he punched her in the left eye with his right hand. He then drove away in the vehicle and continued to punch her in the face with his right hand while steering the vehicle with his left hand. The assault caused Robyn F.’s mouth to fill with blood and blood to splatter all over her clothing and the interior of the vehicle.
Brown looked at Robyn F. and stated, ‘I’m going to beat the sh– out of you when we get home! You wait and see!’
You can read the whole awful transcript here. He then gave a stunted apology which involved him saying he didn’t really remember the incident and that he was “in shock, because that’s not who I am, and not who I promise I want to be as a person.” Then came a year of domestic violence counselling and some community service.
Despite there being some initial backlash against Brown, in the long term, the incident hasn’t hurt his career particularly much. He still manages to collaborate with big name artists, tours, his records still sell and, despite saying that they wouldn’t have him back to the Grammy’s (which he inadvertantly ruined by beating up his girlfriend), the Grammy’s have had him back. And no one really seems to mind that he displayed exactly zero remorse since his first apology, even going so far as to get annoyed when the media “keeps bringing it up” and storming out of interviews.
On top of that, if his tweet history is anything to go by, his attitude towards women really hasn’t changed that much. Whether or not you agree with Jenny Johnson’s pot shots at celebrities (personally, I find them a bit hit and miss), there is absolutely no excuse for responding the way he did. Threatening anyone with bodily harm and humiliation is not an acceptable response to anything (I feel like I shouldn’t even have to write that, it seems so obvious), let alone combining such threats with a tirade of misogyny.
Now, I can hear the gears whirring in your head and you’re thinking “Surely, no one takes that kind of thing seriously. He’s just a jerk. A sexist jerk. He’s not influencing anyone, though. We all know he’s wrong.” Sit down, I’ma lay some knowledge on ya. He’s having a huge impact. Take a stroll through the TeamBreezy hashtag on Twitter and see for yourself. You’ll find a mountain of impressionable young girls and women, all fans of Brown (or Breezy…or whatever) who have had their way of thinking seriously warped by Brown’s actions and the media portrayal of them.
After Brown deleted his Twitter, TeamBreezy united to send death threats to Jenny Johnson. I’m not kidding. Death threats. Including some gems such as “come on Breezy! let’s kill this bitch out! #Breezywantsthisbitchdead”, “kill yourself bitch! #EATADICK” and perhaps most charmingly, “I’M GONNA FUCKING RAPE & KILL YOU OLD WHORE FUCK”. Aside from a few notable occasions (the last tweet, for example), all of the threats were sent by women. These are the same women who, earlier in the year, managed to get my attention by starting a hashtag about how they would be happy to be beat up by Chris Brown. These people are super impressionable, and the constant brushing over of Chris Brown’s indiscretions in order to promote his music and make a quick buck means that the girls and women that listen to the music think it’s OK to be treated like a punching bag because it’s not that big of a deal, and the boys think that it’s OK to treat their girlfriends like punching bags because there aren’t any serious repercussions.
If you want to talk about bad role models, Chris Brown is one. He has displayed no remorse for his actions, he continues to be be horribly misogynistic and is just generally a short-tempered, brattish asshole. The system that lets him remain a public figure in spite of the fact that he’s a violent prick is also something that seriously needs to be addressed. Rihanna is not the person that you should be directing blame at in this scenario. So how about switching it up and talking about the real problem, yeah?