When Will Chris Brown’s Reckoning Come?

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Chris Brown makes his way into the D.C. Superior Court for a hearing concerning misdemeanor assault charges on June, 25, 2014. For over a decade, Brown has been dodging accusations of physical and sexual violence against women. (Jahi Chikwendiu / The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Musician Chris Brown recently announced he will be headlining a residency in Las Vegas starting on June 11, part of a multi-year contract with Drai’s Nightclub to headline a series of “custom production” shows.

Seemingly eager to sing his praises, Dustin Drai, son of the founder of Drai’s Nightclub Victor Drai and current vice president of entertainment, called their new resident performer “one of the most dynamic live performers today,” adding “we’re thrilled to welcome him … with a production that’s set to deliver an unprecedented fan experience.”

In recent years, signing on to headline a residency on the Las Vegas Strip has become a mark of honor for music icons like Celine Dion, Mariah Carey, Shania Twain, Britney Spears, Elton John, Queen + Adam Lambert, Aerosmith and Drake. In a career that has spanned over two decades, this new step could be seen as a sign of great triumph for the 33-year-old R&B singer. But for many survivors of domestic violence and assault, it feels like a slap in the face.

The Abuse Heard ‘Round the World

Many are aware of the infamous 2009 assault and battery Brown committed against pop singer and then-girlfriend Rihanna—who was just 19 at the time. Brown was subsequently arrested and charged, pleading guilty to “assault with the intent of doing great bodily injury.” He was ultimately sentenced to five years of probation.

While this assault on Rihanna is arguably the most well-known, it is far from the only display of abuse Brown has committed against women.

An (Incomplete) History of Chris Brown’s Post-2009 Mistreatment of Women

2013

In June 2013, Brown was accused of pushing and injuring an unidentified female attendee during his performance at Heat Ultra Lounge in San Diego, Calif. The woman later sued him for “battery, assault, intentional infliction of emotional distress and negligence.” Prosecutors declined to file charges against Brown for the alleged assault in part because two other women who were with the victim at the time of the alleged assault “failed to contact detectives,” according to Sgt. Bob Dunn.

2016

In August 2016, former beauty pageant contestant Baylee Curran called 911, telling first responders that Brown had threatened her with a gun at a party held at his Tarzana, Calif., mansion. At the time, several calls were allegedly made to law enforcement from both neighbors of the singer and those present inside the house claiming to have “heard a woman screaming ‘Help!’ down the street and around the block.”

Brown was later arrested and charged with assault with a deadly weapon in connection to the incident.

2017

In February 2017, model Karrueche Tran, with whom Brown had a public on-and-off relationship, alleged in a sworn statement to a Santa Monica judge that Brown had beaten her multiple times during their relationship. Some of her claims included:

  • Brown punching her in the stomach and pushing her down the stairs
  • Leaving her violent threatening voicemails (two of which were played in court)
  • Sending her multiple explicit, threatening text messages: In the messages, which were submitted as evidence in the case, Brown told Tran that he was going to “beat the shit” out of her (he had previously allegedly told Rihanna that exact thing when he assaulted her in 2009); claimed he would make her hate him “even more” if they were to be in the same place in public; that if she’s his enemy, he “won’t hold back” and warning her to “stay in your place”; and claiming that he was going to “hurt your limbs” if she didn’t give back some rings he had previously gifted to her.
  • Telling multiple people that he was going to kill her, threatening that he was going to “take [her] out” and “threatened to shoot [her]”
  • Threatening her friends with violence, and throwing a drink at one of them: Tran’s best friend J. Ryan La Cour, along with two other unnamed friends of Tran, were all granted restraining orders against Brown as well, with La Cour alleging that Brown had threatened him on numerous occasions, showing up to where he was unannounced, running up to him, and “caused a scene.” According to La Cour, “Chris Brown has threatened me and run up on me for not allowing him to bully Karrueche Tran in my presence. … More recently, making threats to her saying that he will beat anyone that is friends with her.” La Cour also alleged Brown told him that “no matter where we go, he will find us and shoot the place up.”

Tran was granted a permanent restraining order against Brown, which extends to her mom and younger brother who she did not want to put “at risk.” In an interview promoting her show The Claw, she told talk show host Wendy Williams, “I needed to protect my safety.”

2018

In May 2018, prominent civil rights attorney Gloria Allred filed a civil suit against Brown and rapper Young Lo on behalf of a woman only identified as Jane Doe, accusing both men of sexual assault. During a press conference at the time, Allred described this case as “one of the most horrific sexual assault cases that I have ever seen,” saying her client “has been severely traumatized”.

2019

In January 2019, Brown was arrested in Paris on charges of “aggravated rape” of an unnamed 24-year-old woman.

Brown denied the allegations in an Instagram post:

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Later that year, the singer’s clothing line, Black Pyramid, launched a new line of T-shirts mocking Brown’s accuser, featuring the phrase “THIS B*TCH LYIN.’” 

2021

In June 2021, LAPD filed a “crime report for battery” against Brown after he allegedly hit a woman during an argument.

2022

On May 22, 2022, a female fan accused him of “kicking her out,” telling her, “B*tch if you ain’t f*cking or s*cking, get the f*ck out” when she refused to hook up with him.

Brown has denied the allegations, posting to Instagram “Shawty fried … These are the type [of] females that I would never smash … Sounds like I wasn’t interested so she had to settle for one of the homies.”

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In the age of #MeToo and #SurvivingRKelly, where is Chris Brown’s reckoning?


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About

Sarah Rosenberg is an intern at Ms.. She is an autistic nonbinary lesbian. She prefers to go by she/they pronouns. She graduated from Los Angeles Pierce College in June 2020. She holds an associate of arts for transfer degree in journalism and two associates of arts degrees for arts and humanities, and social and behavioral science, respectively. She has previously worked at Pierce College's Bull Magazine and Roundup Newspaper.