Saturday, February 14, 2009

Whatever happened to "until PROVEN guilty?"

This may not seem like it's related to writing, but in fact, it is. It's the backbone to a hundred plots out there. It's the wounded hero, the broken heroine, it's the story of redemption and revenge and public humiliation combined with private hurts, it's the story of Chris Brown vs Rhianna.

For those of you who have been under a rock since the Grammy's, I'll do a quick recap. Chris Brown, a popular young singer was (is?) in a romantic relationship with Rhianna, another popular young singer. Individually they have both racked up an impressive number of hits, and together they are a power couple to rival any of the glitterati.

Both of these singers were scheduled to perform at the Grammy's. Both pulled out at the last minute... we're talking mere hours before they were supposed to be on stage. The story is as follows:
The night before the Grammy's they were at a pre-Grammy party together.
They left the party together.
An altercation occurred in the car on the way home, during which one or both parties sustained physical injury.
The police were called.
The next day, Chris Brown was arrested and booked on suspicion of making criminal threats.

Here's the tricky part. Rumor has it Chris beat up Rhianna. RUMOR has it. He surrendered to the police and was released on bail. He has not been convicted. Both parties are remaining mum in the press regarding the details of the ALLEGED assault.

I abhor physical violence. There is no need for it. My husband makes me wish it was legal sometimes, but even when I see red from something he has said or done, there has never been an instance of physical assault between us. War is bad. Capital punishment is the ultimate in hypocrisy, and beating on someone you claim to love is so wrong I need a new word for it. That said, I am disturbed at the bandwagonning going on regarding this case.

Chris Brown has been accused, he has not been convicted. There is a difference. However, the world is acting like he has been proven guilty of this crime. It is a heinous crime, to be sure, but he is allowed the right of due process, just like every single one of us would demand if we were accused of a crime.

Chris Brown's scheduled appearances have been canceled. His endorsements have been pulled, and more than one radio station has removed him from their playlist. I would applaud all of these actions if they had happened after a finding of guilty. If any of these companies kept him as a spokeperson AFTER conviction, I would be appalled. That they are removing him as a celebrity endorser before he has had a chance to defend himself in a court of law though speaks poorly of our society.

I haven't thought through all the ways he is being villified, at the very least his reputation has suffered, at most his career is ruined. And perhaps he deserves it. But, perhaps he doesn't. Can we as a society be open-minded enough to know that we don't know? Before we paint him with a scarlet letter, and convict him in the court of public opinion can we maybe, just maybe, consider what damage we may have visited on the man without being in full possession of all the facts?

Currently reading: Menage
Currently reading: Tale of Two Vikings
Currently reading: Dreams From My Father
(I was unable to finish this because the library demanded it back, but I'm going to take it out again and finish it)

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