Chris Brown’s tentative ban in Australia for his 2009 assault of Rihanna is generating a backlash Down Under. Critics charge the government’s “selective” enforcement of immigration law smacks of hypocrisy, if not outright racism.
Boxing Champion Floyd Mayweather, an African-American, was also banned over domestic violence, they note.
Now, Chris Brown.
Yet singer Ozzy Osbourne, who is white, has been cleared to play in Australia in April 2016, despite admitting to similar past incidents of spousal abuse, according to local reports.
The government appeared caught between a rock and a hard place. Several activists groups lobbied for Brown’s ban, along with newly appointed Australian Minister for Women Michaelia Cash.
Brown is not only facing a possible ban in Australia, but New Zealand as well. If he’s refused entry, the move will likely cost his “One Hell of A Nite Tour” millions of dollars.
Brown last played the two countries in 2008 to sold-out crowds. But that was before he assaulted then-girlfriend Rihanna on the eve of the Grammys in 2009.
Since then, he’s faced several legal problems related to anger issues. He has, however, fulfilled all his probation requirements stemming from the assault.
The R&B singer appears to be mustering an all-out legal and public relations blitz to convince authorities to let him perform. He signaled his desire to be a positive role model in a Tweet earlier today (Sept. 29).
“I would be more than grateful to come to Australia to raise awareness about domestic violence,” he wrote. “I’m not the pink elephant in the room anymore.”
The R&B singer has reportedly assembled a legal team Down Under to make the case for a special exception to Australia’s ban.
As things now stand, Australian Immigration Minister Peter Dutton has served the singer with a “Notice of Intention to Consider Refusal.” The procedural move gives Brown 28 days to appeal.
A special exception would clear the way for Brown to receive a visa and a temporary work permit, despite his criminal background. He’s actually been allowed to enter the country twice before, since the 2009 assault.
But Cash has just initiated a major campaign to raise awareness of domestic abuse. Brown has become a lightning rod to test the government’s commitment to women’s issues.
Both Canada and the United Kingdom refused Brown entry in 2010 and that’s also being cited as a precedent by his critics.
For his part, Brown says he can have a positive influence on fans.
“My life mistakes should be a wake up call for everyone,” he wrote. “Showing the world that mistakes don’t define you. Trying to prevent spousal abuse.”
“The youth don’t listen to parents, nor do they listen to PSA’s. The power that we have as Entertainers can change lives,” he added.
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