Is It Time To Stop Giving Male Celebs A Pass When They’re Accused of Domestic Violence?


Is It Time To Stop Giving Male Celebs A Pass When They Are Accused of Domestic Violence?

By Richard C. Montgomery

042214-Centric-Whats-Good-Keyshawn-Johnson-Ray-Rice-Columbus-Short-Marcus-PolkBack when our beloved soul singers Marvin Gaye and James Brown were abusing their wives and girlfriends, domestic violence was largely viewed as a personal family matter. There was no TMZ, Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. To this day, Marvin, the Godfather of Soul, David Ruffin, and others left this earth as icons on god-like pedestals despite their abusive histories with women.

It’s a new day, but not much has changed.

In the last six months alone there have been a number of Black male celebrities accused of harassing and assaulting their wives and girlfriends.  It may be time to make them fell like “Ike,” back when he uttered those famous words, “Eat the cake Annie Mae”….and not let them get a pass.

“Moesha” star Marcus Paulk was arrested for domestic violence after allegedly punching his girlfriend in the gut. He avoided jail time by copping a plea deal. Baltimore Ravens star Ray Rice was indicted for third degree aggravated assaultafter being caught on video tape dragging his unconscious fiancée off an elevator after allegedly knocking her out in an Atlantic City casino. She soon married him and his assault case is pending investigation.

“Scandal” star Columbus Short has a history of arrests for allegedly beating up his wife including the most recent incident of allegedly threatening to kill her with a knife. Rapper Game is currently a suspect in a felony domestic violence investigationfor allegedly breaking his ex-fiancée’s nose.

Former NFL player Keyshawn Johnson was arrested on a misdemeanor domestic battery charge for allegedly getting physical with his girlfriend of seven years. He denies hitting her, but admits to breaking her phone. Even as I’m writing this blog, singer and songwriter The-Dream is reportedly in custody today after turning himself into New York Police who were seeking to question him about an alleged domestic assault incident.

And the new ‘diss’ term, ‘throwing shade’ is just another form of harassment and emotional violence when it involves men publicly shaming their ex’s and baby mamas.  In fact, don’t you think using the term Baby’s Momma is become the new “B” word in terms of being another obvious sign of disrespect towards women?

Last week, boxing champ Floyd Mayweather decided to take a break in promoting his recent bout for some revenge.  Acting like a man who’s hurt and scorned, he took to all of his social media accounts, and shared with his followers that he recently ended his engagement with Ms. Jackson because she terminated the birth of their twin daughters.  And he included a photo of the sonogram and abortion papers (dated December 26) as proof.


The women, the victims, have remained silent.

“Alleged” is the double-edged sword in intimate partner violence cases. Legally the claims are alleged until proven guilty in a court of law. In everyday life “alleged” allows the public to altogether ignore or give the “alleged” abuser the benefit of the doubt.

Often times, Black male celebs, as far as the Black community at large is concerned, are always presumed innocent.

Despite the numbing facts about intimate partner violence, society has all but turned a blind eye to the issue. As long as you make millions of dollars, sing, dance or get paid to play a sport, all shall be ignored or forgiven.

Thanks to patriarchy and sexism, the discussion around domestic violence oftentimes veers into victim blaming. “She hit him first,” “she must’ve done something to provoke him,” “she’s stupid for going back to him,” “she’s lying” —and/or the gut-wrenching— “she had it coming” à la the response to Evelyn Lozada. Even with leaked pictures of Rihanna’s battered face people found a way to blame her and not her attacker, then boyfriend Chris Brown.

Whether or not the allegations against these men are true, is arguable and ultimately up to the court to decide. What’s not arguable are the cold facts about domestic violence.

According to a 2013 United Nations global review of data, 35 percent of women worldwide have experienced intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence. 1 out of every 3 women have experienced intimate partner abuse during their lifetime according to American Psychology Association.

In the U.S., 24 people are victims of intimate partner violence every minute according to the CDC. Three or more women are murdered each day by their boyfriends or husbands according to APA. And each year over 12 million women and men are victims of intimate partner violence.

Domestic (intimate partner) violence is not a personal issue between couples. It’s a global issue that affects us all.

One in three women have been abused by an intimate partner. One in three, let that sink in. That means if it’s not you it’s someone you know: your sister, daughter, niece, aunt, mother, best friend or grandmother. Imagine if someone’s response to your mom or daughter’s abuse was, “Well, what did she do to provoke him?” or any level of victim blaming.

Acting, boxing, singing, or being a professional athlete shouldn’t absolve men from accountability. We must all do better in how we respond to domestic violence. It’s not a joke for the next viral meme, it’s not a catchy phrase to allow your husband to rap in a song, it’s not about victim blaming to figure out what the woman must’ve done and it’s not to be ignored.

If nothing else, the least we could do is stop pointing fingers at the victim and stop giving these men a pass just because we see them on TV or pay to see them perform or play a sport.

What are your thoughts about this?


FOOTNOTE: Original source material for this story was provided by Bené Viera

The views expressed are that solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect WHUR or Howard University.

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