Chris Brown slammed for 'victim-blaming' comments about Rihanna
R&B singer Chris Brown has been criticised by domestic violence charities following 'victim-blaming' comments he made about his assault of Rihanna in a new documentary.
The online documentary, Chris Brown: Welcome To My Life, is pitched as charting the singer's "triumphs, his struggles, his journey", and features talking head interviews with stars including Usher, Jennifer Lopez, Mary J Blige, Rita Ora, DJ Khaled and Mike Tyson.
But its extended focus on Brown's February 2009 physical assault of then-girlfriend Rihanna – for which Brown pleaded guilty and was sentenced to six months of community service, five years' probation, and domestic violence counselling – has drawn rebukes from domestic violence activists.
In the documentary, Brown says the couple had been regularly fighting after Rihanna caught him cheating on her with a work colleague.
"She hated me after that. I tried everything, she didn't care. She just didn't trust me after that," says Brown.
"From there, it just went downhill because it would be fights, verbal fights, physical fights as well. Mutual sides... We would fight each other, she would hit me, I would hit her, but it was never okay."
Brown also goes into detail about the Grammys night incident that left Rihanna bruised and bleeding, saying it started after Rihanna became suspicious of phone texts he received from another woman.
"I remember she tried to kick me, but then I really hit her, with a closed fist, I punched her. I busted her lip. When I saw it, I was in shock, like why did I hit her?" he says.
"She spit blood in my face and it raised me even more... She was trying to grab my phone, but I'm not giving her my phone to throw it out the window. So she grabbed my nuts, and I bit her arm."
Brown's comments were criticised by online activists and organisations fighting domestic violence for attempting to deflect personal responsibility for his attack.
"Brown is sending out a very dangerous message to both survivors and abusers by relieving himself of responsibility for his actions by blaming Rihanna for provoking him," Women's Aid CEO Katie Ghose told Harper's Bazaar.
"Whatever goes wrong in a relationship, no man has a right to hit his partner... Domestic violence does not 'take two'," added Refuge CEO Sandra Horley.
"Blaming the victim is another way perpetrators maintain control over their victims – it shifts the responsibility to the woman," she told the magazine.
Brown, whose last album Royalty reached #14 on the ARIA charts in 2015, was forced to cancel a contentious Australian tour that same year after the Department of Immigration denied him a visa on "character grounds".
- Sydney Morning Herald