For all the jokes about Justin Bieber needing to get his act together or how Lindsay Lohan remains a drama magnet, or whether Ryan Lochte deserves to be on Dancing With the Stars...there's been a more pressing case under our nose for years now.
And we've been looking away every time.
Police showed up at Chris Brown's house this morning after a woman who identified herself as Baylee Curran called 911 to report that the singer had threatened her with a gun. Instead of greeting the cops straightaway, Brown proceeded to post a few Instagram videos (still up, possibly a record for the infamous tweeter-and-deleter) to complain about what he feels is harassment from law enforcement.
A lawyer for Nia Guzman, mother of Brown's daughter, Royalty, tells E! News that their 2-year-old was home with her dad at the time of the incident. She was at some point taken to school and Rodriguez has since picked her up and they're both safe.
We don't know all the facts yet. Not every tale told about each celebrity is true. We can only imagine how many false reports or unnecessary 911 calls authorities deal with every day amid all the real crimes and emergencies.
Brown hasn't been arrested and no one should assume Curran's story about being threatened is true.
But in the court of public opinion, Brown threw away his shot at being presumed innocent until proven otherwise a long, long time ago. And he has continued to throw it away every time it's been handed back to him since.
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Chris Brown has released five studio albums since pleading guilty to assaulting his then-girlfriend Rihanna in 2009. Since then has also won a Grammy, for Best R&B Album, as well as 17 BET and BET Hip-Hop Awards. He's toured (often in the face of some sort of drama having to do with him traveling internationally). He's performed on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, on Jimmy Kimmel Live, on Saturday Night Live. He did a bit at the ESPY Awards with Drake.
Dude's been living a good life, basically.
And this isn't to say that his career should've gone away after what happened with Rihanna. She continued to date him off and on for years afterward, and just guested on one of his tracks last year. If people have wanted to continue to buy his music and watch him perform, that's their prerogative.
Whether it's coincidental or not, some TV hosts haven't hosted him since his arrest in 2009 on the eve of the Grammys, after which TMZ posted leaked up-close photos of Rihanna's facial injuries. Brown last appeared on Ellen in 2008. Letterman never had him on. Neither did Leno. Nor has Conan, for that matter.
Overall, if we turned our backs (or withheld our money, stopped watching, etc.) on every celebrity who has committed a crime, done or said something morally repugnant, or otherwise offended us for some reason, we might be shocked by how many people fall out of favor. The ability to hold grudges forever for even the slightest offenses may be in our DNA, but so is the tendency toward forgiveness.
Especially if someone didn't do anything to any one of us, personally.
Chris Brown certainly isn't the first to have screwed up and gotten another chance (or chance after chance) to rehabilitate his image.
But shouldn't he at some point start helping out his own cause?
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Despite a general, flippant consensus that he's a jerk (and other likeminded descriptors), Brown continues to be a huge celebrity, one who has made a ton of money, is still collaborating with the biggest names in pop and hip-hop, and has his eighth studio album in the works.
In the aftermath of his 2009 assault case, which resulted in a sentence that included five years of probation and six months of community labor, Brown—sitting alongside his lawyer and his mother, Joyce Hawkins—told CNN's Larry King, referring to himself and Rihanna, "I feel like that we're young. We're both young. So nobody taught us how to love one another. Nobody taught us a book on how to control our emotions or our anger. I'm not trying to fall on the fact that I'm young. I'm just saying it's a lot of stuff that I wish I could have changed that night."
Asked if life had calmed down for him since his plea deal, Brown said, "I think it's more a relief now that everything is kind of all said and done as far as like what I have to do and what's going on. I think it's no more media frenzy for them to, kind of, blow out of proportion anymore."
(It was certainly one of the most sensationalized media stories at the time, but there was a big sign that he thought he was a victim, too.)
Brown also said that he acknowledged "every day" that he had screwed up.
"Like I said, it's probably one of the worst moments of my life," he told King. "And I always wish like I could take it back. And every day, it's just something that sticks in my mind. And I've said countless times how sorry I am to Rihanna, and I just accepted full responsibility. But it's just one of those things I wish I could have relived and just handled totally different."
Well, where's that guy?
Brown has had plenty to say about the forces that have been out to get him since—be it law enforcement and the courts, the media, fellow artists, pissed-off exes, social media haters, etc.—but what happened to the contrition?
Because while no one loves anything more than a good comeback (except, maybe, to turn a blind eye and hope it never comes back to haunt them), a lot of Brown's behavior—alleged and confirmed—in the past seven years has suggested he hasn't really figured out how to cope with his demons.
"Let somebody make a f--ked up allegation about me and oh yeah the whole f--king SWAT team. My n---a I'm innocent. F--k everybody I'm tired of hearing this s—t," he ranted on Instagram today. (There were around a dozen officers but no SWAT team at his house at the time.)
Sorry, Chris Brown, that there's been a microscope on your behavior since 2009, but that's how the law—and, yes, being famous—works.
In August 2013 a judge tacked another 1,000 hours of community service onto his sentence after ruling that he hadn't really completed the terms of his sentence when he first claimed to have finished with the 1,400 hours required of him. He was also briefly jailed around that time for possible involvement in an alleged hit-and-run, but he never faced charges.
He completed his probation for the 2009 assault in March 2015, but not before spending the better part of eight months in jail between 2013 and 2014 for violating his probation. He had been arrested in Washington, D.C., for punching a guy (he pleaded down to misdemeanor assault and was sentenced to time served) and then spent time in rehab before being kicked out of the facility after four months for rules violations. Brown was arrested after leaving the rehab facility and spent 234 days in jail. A judge tacked 131 days onto the sentence after Brown admitted to the violation, but he was released about a month later; his probation was extended until Jan. 25, 2015.
Upon his release from jail, Brown was reportedly telling those close to him that he was through with drugs and negative influences in his life.
Leading up to the completion of his sentence last year ("IM OFF PROBATION!!!!!!!!! Thank the Lord!!!!!" he tweeted at the time), Brown's probation was revoked eight days beforehand when a judge found out he had left L.A. County without permission and a shooting occurred at a San Jose, Calif., nightclub where he was performing. (The shooting had nothing to do with him.)
In the meantime, neighbors complained about the art Brown had commissioned for his outside wall in his L.A. neighborhood, calling it graffiti, and the city ordered him to clean it up in 2013. Both the D.C. guy and members of Frank Ocean's entourage sued him in civil court for respective instances of alleged assault and battery. Brown settled both cases, the latter stemming from a run-in outside an L.A. recording studio.
This past June Brown's former manager sued him as well, alleging the singer assaulted him in a "drug-fueled rage." In an Instagram video long since deleted, Brown laughed and said, "N---as is getting mad and filing lawsuits because I fired them, because they're stealing money. So you're mad because you're no longer existent. That's alright, I'm gonna keep pushing. God bless ya. I wish you the best of luck."
And throughout, he's gotten involved in profane feuds on social media, including with his longtime on-and-off girlfriend Karrueche Tran; ranted on Twitter; and publicly slammed how Guzman dressed Royalty for dance class.
Court records made public in February 2014 showed that Brown had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder after acting out in rehab, having walked out of a therapy session and thrown a rock through his mom's car window. In 2013 he suffered a seizure that was attributed to intense fatigue and stress.
So Brown's big problem isn't just a raging case of dickishness. He has health issues, he's struggled with addiction and, as has been the case with Bieber, with Lohan and with so many others, he apparently tends to hang around with people who, if they're not expressly bad influences, are not helping to keep him out of trouble either.
Brown was 20 when he lamented how young he and Rihanna were. He's 27 now, and that's too old to plead youthful stupidity and ignorance.
Even if today's incident turns out to have been blown out of proportion and nothing comes of the police's investigation into a possible assault with a deadly weapon, Brown has repeatedly indicated that he doesn't think he has the problem.
Sure, there are a lot of opportunists out there, plenty of whom have probably thought that there are worse things than a quick payday from known felon Chris Brown. And people who've cried foul on his behavior can't be believed just because it's Brown, there should be substance to back it up.
But taking into account evidence of his temper, his involvement in multiple fights (including the verbal ones) and the fact that his name just keeps coming up where there's trouble…
Brown still needs a lot of help. If he's not going to seek it out, that's up to his doctors, his lawyers and his loved ones. He's got a kid now, and that is a privilege you just don't mess with. Even if his accuser is for some reason lying, a father has got to be discerning enough not to let someone into his house, where his child is, who's going to bring that sort of drama. And if she's telling the truth…well then, that's in the authorities' hands now.
It's time for Chris Brown to grow up. And if he wants to really come back, what he needs to do first is go away.