Trolls Hit New Low, Hail Chris Brown for Assaulting Rihanna in ’09
‘Chris Brown did nothing wrong,’ wrote Right-wing trolls after Rihanna tweeted in support of protesting farmers.
Trigger Warning: Descriptions of sexual assault and physical violence. Reader caution is advised.
‘Respect Chris Brown.’
‘Missing Chris Brown.’
‘Chris Brown did nothing wrong.’
In a new low for the Right-wing troll army on Twitter, American songwriter Chris Brown’s mentions soared on the social media platform on Wednesday, 3 February, after singer-actor Rihanna shared a news story on farmers’ protest against the Centre’s farm laws. The trolls took to Twitter to ‘praise’ and show ‘respect’ to Brown for hitting and abusing Rihanna in 2009.
“Why aren’t we talking about this?!” Rihanna had written on Twitter on Tuesday, adding the hashtag #FarmersProtest.
‘Felt Like a Monster’: Chris Brown Charged for Assault in 2009
In 2009, a 19-year-old Brown was arrested for assaulting his then-girlfriend Rihanna, who was 20, during a confrontation the morning before the Grammys. After the R&B star pleaded guilty of assault, he was sentenced to five years of probation and ordered to complete 180 days of community labour and a year-long anti-domestic violence programme.
Brown pleaded that he assaulted her with the “intent of doing great bodily injury.”
In a film documentary, Chris Brown: Welcome to My Life, released in 2017, he goes into detail about the abusive relationship with Rihanna, saying he “felt like a monster.”
“I remember she tried to kick me, just like her beating s**t, but then I really hit her. With a closed fist, like I punched her and it busted her lip. And when I saw it I was in shock, I was like, f**k why did I hit her like that?” Brown said in the documentary.
In a 2009 interview, following the attack, Rihanna said she “fended him off with my feet”. She added that Brown allegedly threatened to kill her, “to scare me”, and that “all I kept thinking was, ‘When is it going to stop,” according a report in The Guardian.
Most tweets celebrating Brown for assaulting Rihanna are still online on Twitter – raising questions about the enforcement of community standards in India.
Just Because It’s Virtual, Doesn’t Mean It’s Less
The celebration of Brown by the internet trolls also shows that virtual harassment is simply the extension of what women face every day. It is no way ‘less important’ or ‘less alarming’ to the threats issued in real life.
The open and massive support to Brown only indicates further how these nameless and faceless trolls may not just stop with issuing violent threats but may also translate into action against women who don’t ‘agree’ with them.
Multiple studies show that online trolls tend to be predominantly male and ‘enjoy’ the chaos they cause through the tweets – which are often large-scale hate campaigns.
While Rihanna’s mentions and tags were filled with mentions of Chris Brown, a few social media users also took to the platform to point out that the ecosystem was vile and the act is simply disgusting and indicated the ‘lowest of the low.’
In October 2020, a global survey conducted by Plan International revealed that more than 50 percent of girls and women between the age of 15-25 have been cyber-stalked, sent explicit messages and photos, been harassed and abused online.
The study also explained that the abuses experienced by the girls forced them to exit social media and left them “traumatised.”
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