Boycott Call Against Chris Brown Israel Concert Over Star's Violence Against Women

R&B singer-dancer was convicted of attacking then-girlfriend Rihanna in 2009. Israel Women's Network says shunning Rishon Letzion gig would act to 'stop rewarding these violent men.'

Itay Stern
Itay Stern
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Chris Brown performing at the Billboard Music Awards, May 2015.
Chris Brown performing at the Billboard Music Awards, May 2015.Credit: AP
Itay Stern
Itay Stern

A leading women’s group is calling on Israelis to boycott an upcoming concert by Chris Brown, on account of the R&B singer’s felony conviction for assaulting his girlfriend in 2009.

The Israel Women’s Network has blasted the scheduled performance of Brown on July 27 at the Rishon Letzion Ampitheatre. The U.S. singer was sentenced to six months’ community service and five years’ probation for beating up his then-girlfriend, Rihanna, six years ago.

Keren Greenblatt, the Women’s Network legal adviser, told Haaretz on Monday, “This is the form of violence we’re least shocked by. I hope we can succeed in raising awareness, and that this will cause the audience to vote with its feet and stop rewarding these violent men.”

Brown, considered one of the most successful R&B artists in the world, was arrested in February 2009 after hitting Rihanna during a domestic dispute. Harsh pictures of her bruised face shocked fans and the media, which gave the story mass coverage. At the time, almost everyone thought it would end Brown’s career.

The singer-dancer, 26, managed to rebrand himself, though, and after apologizing and doing community service, returned to recording and performing, as well as a successful acting career. Brown received a Grammy Award in 2011, and recorded a duet with Rihanna called “Nobody’s Business” in 2012. That same year, he canceled a show in Guyana, South America, following protests by local women’s organizations against his appearance.

Greenblatt said most of the crowd at the Brown concert would likely be composed of young people. “A situation in which so many young men and women will attend this performance reflects clearly what will happen here in the future. After all, they’re receiving the message [in the media] that there’s no problem with hitting women and assaulting them.

Unfortunately, there’s not enough broadcasting of the opposite message in society – certainly not from the Israeli media. However, looking at the positives, it’s comforting to see that the woman [Rihanna] hurt by Brown has succeeded in surviving and developing an independent and flourishing career with her great talent – something that most women victims in Israel and around the world do not achieve,” concluded Greenblatt.

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