As you would know R'n'B singer Chris Brown had his Australian visa officially cancelled Wednesday. This came after the Federal Government baulked at his five years probation for assaulting his then-girlfriend Rihanna in 2009. His tour was to start in Perth next week before continuing around Australia and heading to New Zealand.
Earlier this year when the subject of Brown's visa was first raised he reached out on Twitter, saying "my life mistakes should be a wake up call for everyone. Showing the world that mistakes don't define you. Trying to spousal abuse"
In light of this "mistakes don't define you" claim we spoke to some fans who had bought tickets. How do they reconcile the fact they're supporting a guy who beats women? Do they forgive him?
Vanessa-Mae Santiago, 23
VICE: Hi Vanessa, what are your thoughts on Brown's visa rejection?
Vanessa-Mae Santiago: To me it seemed like a total poll-hike move by the government due to the country's battle with domestic violence. They had let him into the country in 2012 for the RnB music festival, Supafest. That was three years after the incident, but now domestic violence is in the news they decide to cancel his visa?
So you don't mind he beats women?
No, my respect for him as a person completely changed from positive to negative but not as an artist, I have always and still enjoy his music.
Can you forgive someone for attacking their girlfriend?
I've had this experience with one of my own friends. It's extremely scary thinking that the next time they see their partner it might be the last. I will never be able to forgive.
But is it possible granting a visa implicitly condones domestic violence?
Look, I understand and completely agree that domestic violence is one of the worst things people are capable of. The heightened awareness of family violence, the rise of feminism, and gender equality are positive cultural shifts within Australia. But at the same time, Chris Brown is an extremely popular performer and it sucks I won't be able to see him again, or at least not in this country.
Chloe Boykett, 19
Hey Chloe, How long have you been a fan?
Chloe Boykett: Since I was little! I feel pretty bummed. The media had been throwing around whether he'd come but I always assumed he would.
Do you think he's become a scapegoat?
Yeah I think so. I feel like since domestic violence has been in the media so much lately they needed something that looked like they're doing something. They chose Chris Brown to do that.
So barring him wasn't warranted?
Well he's been in Australia since the offense so no, not at all.
Do you think he's changed since being charged?
He has a kid now so obviously he has changed and has new responsibilities.
Can you personally forgive someone who beats up women?
No I don't think so. I'm sure it could be different for people in certain circumstances, but I definitely couldn't.
So why do you forgive Chris Brown?
I have no idea... I guess I don't necessarily feel like I need to forgive him to enjoy his music. It's not as if he's done something to me personally or to someone close to me. Obviously what he's done is absolutely horrible, but I love his music and I'm not going to stop listening to it because of what he did six years ago. Also you never fully know the story because of the way the media depicts things.
Jana Tuyau, 23
Jana, you met Chris Brown. What was your opinion of him?
I immediately felt comfortable as he offered my friends and I drinks and then proceeded to introduce us to the rest of his crew as well as his girlfriend at the time, Karrueche. For the most part of the night he was by Karrueche's side and seemed like a very caring, attentive boyfriend. From there he asked if we'd like to go back to his hotel to hang out. I'd be lying if I said I thought his intentions were pure but he proved us wrong.
We headed up to his hotel room at Crown—three girlfriends and I, Chris, Karrueche, and Chris' tour manager. Chris called room service and ordered us chips, milkshakes, and wings. For the rest of the night all we did was smoke weed, eat room service, and watch Ben 10.
I felt as if I had spent the night with a friend who I hadn't seen in years. Never at one point did he make any of us feel uncomfortable or threatened. He was very attentive to his girlfriend's needs as well as ours making sure we had enough to eat before we left.
What was your opinion of him after his attack of Rihanna?
I'd be lying if I said his attack on Rihanna didn't slightly alter the way I thought of him. But as a massive fan, I still listened to his music religiously. I think his dedication to his career and to better himself is what kept me a fan.
Is domestic violence forgivable?
As a victim of domestic violence myself, I do believe you need to forgive your attacker at one point so you can make peace with yourself and move on. There are absolutely no acceptable excuses for people who abuse their partners but there are also no acceptable excuses for people who murder, rape, and harm children. But of course there comes a time when these people are released and given a second shot.
If his visa were granted do you think it would condone domestic violence?
No, people can't be stupid enough to think that. Our problem with domestic violence in Australia is an internal one. We can only blame ourselves. Tara Brown was turned away when she tried to get help from police in QLD. I have also personally called the cops on my ex. I told the operator what was happening, where I was, and to not call back if I hung up because it meant he was near. I told her that he would kill me if I called the cops. I had to hang up because he returned and she called me straight back. This resulted in a beating and a broken phone and no police officers showing up. My point is that domestic violence has only just been brought to the light even though it was happening for so long.
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