Thousands of Chris Brown fans have signed a petition and bought tickets to his shows, despite the Australian Government’s intention to keep him out of the country.
The change.org petition was created on Sunday after Immigration Minister Peter Dutton issued a “Notice of Intention to Consider Refusal” to Brown, who is due to perform his One Hell of a Night tour in four states in December. Brown has 28 days to provide material that demonstrates why he should be granted a visa. The petition has received 4000 signatures and concert tickets are selling well, despite polls, politicians and an overwhelming majority of social media posts showing most people don’t want Brown to come to Australia.
The Newsroom took to Sydney’s streets to ask people for their opinions.
Long-time fan of the R ‘n’ B singer, Earlwood resident Stephanie Vertsonis believes it was a political decision to issue a notice.
“I don’t see how the government can justify not letting Chris Brown in for domestic violence when at the same time they have allowed so many other [controversial] celebrities into the country… I think they are only doing it so they don’t look like idiots since they have recently put all this money into domestic violence,” she told The Newsroom.
Other fans believe Brown, who was convicted of assaulting ex-girlfriend Rihanna in 2009, deserves a second chance.
“Yes, Chris did wrong in his past… he regrets his mistakes. He’s a great artist … Let cb [sic] in!” Alysha Hunt commented on the petition.
The petition, which is addressed to Malcolm Turnbull and Mr Dutton, argues that politicians and domestic violence activists have an “unfair advantage” over those who disagree with Brown’s potential visa refusal, due to a lack of influence. It states: “The opposition has no real chance to be heard due to the lack of ‘power’ and ‘fame’. So we have taken the time out to write this letter to try and encourage you to reconsider your decision not to let Chris Brown into Australia.”
The letter goes on to give a string of reasons as to why Brown should be given a visa, the main one surrounding his “character” development since the offence.
“Chris made a mistake 7-years-ago at the young age of 19. He has served his time and paid his dues for his crimes… He has amended his ‘character’ and should no longer be judged on his past… Chris has been granted entry into Australia numerous times since 2009 with no issue. During his time in Australia he has displayed exemplary character and behavior.”
Brown took to Twitter on Tuesday night, to say he wanted to use his position to raise awareness among young people about domestic violence.
“My life mistakes should be a wake up call for everyone. Showing the world that mistakes don’t define you. Trying to prevent spousal abuse,” he said.
“The youth don’t listen to parents… The power that we have as entertainers can change lives.”
In a statement posted on the Ticketek.com.au page for his shows, Brown’s management said they respected the government’s right to review the entertainer’s request to enter the country but they “have faith that a decision will be made with the full consideration of his continued personal growth, ongoing philanthropic endeavours and desire to perform for his fans”. – Story by Sophia Rambaldini, video produced by Lachlan Brunton and presented by Lisa Solinareos
Top picture from Stephanie McCarthy’s Twitter feed.