I don’t want to defend Brown – or Turia, just to point out that it seems as though every corner of the media/political establishment has coalesced far more quickly and effectively in their opposition to Brown than would be the case if he wasn’t brown (the colour).
I can only speak for myself, but I stand by this Tweet:
Let’s get real that race, class (and gender) are NOT created equal in NZ, but I’m not joining Team Chris Brown to have that korero.
And, honestly, I don’t want to derail into a discussion of hip-hop lyrics. Not because an awful lot of them aren’t absolutely fucking vile, but because an awful lot of pop culture is absoloutely fucking vile and that a whole warehouse of canned worms I can’t even start to open here without pulling the mother of all derails. I will happily argue that George RR Martin’s treatment of rape and violence against women in A Song of Ice and Fire is ghastly on so many levels (and the television adaptation is even worse) *, but I’d never say that is a reason to bar him from entering New Zealand. Because that’s not how our immigration laws work, wither you think that’s right or not.
My issue with Brown’s defenders has nothing to do with his race, and a lot with the horrible spectacle of people who should know better just ignoring his long record of abuse, harassment and intimidation. And while they’re not my stories to tell in this forum, I also have reasons not to share Turia et. al.’s trust that Brown’s really changed his ways.
* And I have to note here, that there are plenty of women geeks whose opinions I respect, and are in no way rape culture enforcers/apologists, who would make arguments to the contrary. It's complicated, because pop culture and the people who make and consume it don't magically exist above and beyond a society that's fucked up and broken in so many ways. As Danielle rightly says, we've all got to make our own way through that maze.
Dame Tariana Turias’ stand on this issue seems to be based in a loving Christian gesture to a sinner.
Perhaps, and maybe they’ve taken this at face value:
US singer Chris Brown says he wants to go to Australia to use his influence as an entertainer to raise awareness about domestic violence.
He was commenting in a tweet to news at the weekend that he is unlikely to be given a visa to perform in Australia because of his domestic abuse record.
The singer is scheduled to go on tour in Australia in December, and tickets went on sale on Monday.
He was told on Sunday that he had 28 days to appeal against the decision.
“I would be more than grateful to come to Australia to raise awareness about domestic violence,” Mr Brown tweeted. “I’m not the pink elephant in the room anymore."
To which my only response is: “Gurrl, I’ve heard that song before and just because I got played like a cheap fiddle doesn’t mean you have to.” This is what shocks me most about the Chris Brown Fan Club – which has now gone global, BTW. We’re not talking about five naive bunnies fresh off the farm, but women I thought would have the nous to do some basic homework on the man they’re supporting. Something our host managed to do with little difficulty.
It’s very easy to “forgive” someone who never reduced your face to a bloody pulp, or threatened to kill you for parking your car in the wrong place. But it’s damn easy to make the victims of abuse somehow marginal when they should be at the center of the story, and the safety of all women more important than some toxic man’s feels and income stream.
Because in the end, I don’t believe Chris Brown. I don’t trust Chris Brown. I wouldn’t dare presume to “forgive” him for the pain and humiliation he’s caused others, because it’s not mine to give.
And nobody’s convinced me to change my mind.
What really makes me heart-sick about the story you linked to is this:
Dame Tariana Turia, former co-leader of the Maori Party, also said she would support Brown's visa application. She said young people needed to relate to other young people and Maori youth would be more likely to listen to Brown on the subject of his reform than their elders.
Yeah, and what exactly does Brown have to say to young Maori and Pasifika? If you're rich enough, and are surrounded by enablers whose own bottom lines depend on you, you don't have to face any meaningful consequences for your actions. (Actions, need I add, most people of colour will NEVER afford to lawyer up to mitigate or avoid entirely.) That if you're a celebrity you can show ZERO commitment to dealing with your painfully obvious difficulty with keeping your fists to yourself? FFS, lets not forget Frank Ocean was subject to a death threat and homophobic abuse over a parking space.
Oh, and let's keep reminding Maori and Pasifika women and LGBT of one more way in which their lives don't really matter at all. You can never really be reminded of that too many times.
I don't know what's more depressing about this farce: Watching women I have vast respect for squandering mana they'd almost literally taken lifetimes to accrue? Or that they did it so quickly, and for so little?
Just leaving this here, because I’m too freaking grossed out and angry to say anything remotely constructive…
Chris Brown is about to get new high-powered support for his bid to enter New Zealand – this time from three Maori Dames, a Lady and a former Women’s Refuge boss.
The support of five new prominent and powerful Maori women comes after former Cabinet minister, Dame Turiana Turia, spoke in support of Brown being allowed to enter the country.
Promoters for Brown have sent an invitation to a press conference today, saying it would see the “National Urban Maori Authority speak out in the wake of Dame Tariana Turia’s strong support of Chris Brown.”
It brings support from the upper reaches of Maoridom along with the heft of the National Urban Maori Authority, which runs the commissioning agency dispensing whanau ora funds – including into domestic violence programmes.
In what way is any of this even remotely appropriate?
Some of the commentary online seems to be “Judith Collins must be wrong, ergo Brown not that bad” – which is cock-eyed nonsense.
Thanks for saying that, because prudence made me delete my response to that line of spin. Yes, I'm perfectly happy with Collins being held accountable to her record as a minister of the Crown but I'm less than convinced this is the time or place for political point scoring. Especially when I've not exactly seen any Government giving any consideration to amending the Immigration Act to make domestic violence convictions grounds to decline visa applications.
Genuine question: have you always held that view of the Clean Slate Act? Do you think no one should be allowed to move on after paying their penalty? Should someone busted for a joint or shoplifting in the 1980s still have trouble travelling or getting a job?
Here's a tangential question I've been waiting for someone to answer. If Chris Brown was a New Zealander what would be his chances of getting a visa to perform in the United States under identical circumstances? Serious question, because the relevant section of the US State Department website isn't exactly a model of clarity.
The c-word nobody seems keen to use here is Class - or more precisely money to lawyer up. If you've got a promoter who stands to lose an awful lot of money if a tour gets cancelled because your headliner can't get a visa, that's one thing. If you're on the other side of the Tasman, and nobody else gives a shit who you are... well, I've heard Christmas Island is lovely this time of year.
And yet, Kanoa Lloyd makes some strong arguments in her Newsworthy column Chris Brown and Our Domestic Violence Double Standards. Most notably, that such immigration sanctions have been almost exclusively visited on black entertainers: “If you’re white, you’re still welcome. We’re much more certain you’ve learned the error of your ways.”
And she’s not wrong, but shouldn’t our response to that be “well, perhaps we need to address the institutional racism, conscious or not, here” NOT “well, we should let this abusive dude in because fair’s fair…” Which, to be fair, is not what Lloyd is arguing at all but I’ve seen others trying to put that spin on it. Which is disturbing, but not on her.
A lawsuit would come across as rather Colin Craig-ish – suing not for actual libel, but for butt-hurt.
No, Red. Sorry, but this is really starting to sound like an elaborate game of "when did you stop beating your wife while high on cocaine and with gravy on your knob, Prime Minister?"
I've had one of Kiwibog's hand-reared trolls post comments about me that were clearly and actionably defamatory. I didn't sue because I didn't have 1) a large amount of money to contribute to some lawyer's new Beamer fund, 2) years to spend up to my armpits in someone else's slime, and 3) a grasp on the reality of how defamation law works in the real world. You can "win" and still lose unless years of debt and humiliation are a turn on.
A wise head not a million miles from here also made this salient point: "What the hell do you care about the good opinion of people who'd read that shit anyway?"
OK, I get plenty of people around here will believe there's no depravity Cameron is incapable of and there's nothing I can say to change anyone's mind. But let's stop playing this game of not suing is effectively an admission of guilt, because I promise you won't like where that ends up.
While Ashcroft has deep pockets, if the pig story was really just an elaborate fabrication, the libel payout would be enormous. Do you really think the good Lord and his publishers would set themselves up in that way?
I think Ashcroft is no fool -- and he know exactly how British libel law works. Very very slowly, and at ruinous expense. If anyone is being naive, Alfie, I think it's you in underestimating the entitlement and malice of both Ashcroft and Paul Dacre who hasn't made any secret of his utter contempt for anything resembling an ethical compass. (He's still unapologetic for his shameful hit job on Ralph Miliband -- after all, the dead can't sue.)
The business with the pig may well have political overtones and be motivated by revenge, but Cameron certainly hasn’t denied it.
And when did you stop beating your wife, Alfie? Helen Clark never denied the insane crap Ian Wishart and his scabby organ threw at her and her husband with monotonous regularity. She never dignified it with any response whatsoever. Don’t think she made a bad call there, and there’s no sane reason why Cameron should do Ashcroft or the Daily Mail any favours either.