A very similar thing happened when Baylee Curran called the cops on Chris Brown, claiming the notoriously troublesome artist had threatened her with a gun and she ran out of his house fearing for her life.
"What was your bisness overthere ??? woman ??" "You gold digger" "You not scared enough for me. Lying ass lol" "If somebody tryna steal my diamonds..i would shoot em dead!" "Mhaaan stay away from black men" "U are a f--king liar u bitch go to hell."
All comments left on Instagram alongside a cell phone video of Curran in which she asks, "Do you all honestly think I wanted this, and I caused this? If somebody put a gun to your head, what would you do?"
Well, no one thinks she wanted this, "this" being the scathing response to her story, a resounding clap-back from Team Breezy which has nothing but zero patience for anyone who dares accuse him of anything just because of, you know, that one time. Brown's sight-unseen supporters this week have included a number of celebrities, including Ray J and Snoop Dogg.
But did Curran want attention? Maybe. She's done a bunch of interviews in the 48 hours since she told her story to police, including a sit-down with E! News, so she didn't go into hiding.
Brown, meanwhile, has been booked on a charge of assault with a deadly weapon and is free on $250,000 bail. The investigation is ongoing and a court hearing is scheduled for Sept. 20.
Though a lot of the nastier comments directed at Curran were racially charged (with a number of people on social media accusing her, a white woman, of trying to sink her claws into Brown), the overall vitriol directed at her was nothing new when it comes to the knee-jerk reaction that tends to occur when a celebrity whose fans feel fiercely protective of him take issue with an accusation that he's done a bad thing.
Heard was called a gold-digger and a liar and accused of using Depp to further her celebrity—and she was already famous! Most people had never heard of Curran before, so she was treated to some of the worst of the worst from not only people who sounded like loyal fans of Brown but also those who were quick to judge any accuser of a celebrity of being in it for the 15 minutes.
Which is what makes where we're at now in the story all the worse. In fact, you can bet the ones who doubted Curran immediately, who fiercely defended Brown right from the beginning, are having a great day.
Because, in addition to the doubts that have cropped up about her version of events over the course of the police's investigation (Who's doing business at 3 a.m.? Who'd she call first, the cops or TMZ?), now it turns out that she's an ex-beauty queen with a tarnished crown.
At a press conference Thursday morning to discuss why Curran is now the former Miss California Regional 2016, the pageant organization stated that she had engaged in conduct not befitting one of their title holders and was ultimately dethroned due to breach of contract. E! News has obtained a screengrab from the pageant of tweets (which the organization said was sent anonymously this week to them) purportedly from Curran's account in which she wrote, "I say n---a around Chris all the time..." and "The craziest thing about all this hate is that you n---as can't even spell half the big words you try to use against me." (The pageant organization said these tweets were forwarded to them anonymously and E! News has not yet been able to independently verify their authenticity.)
The organization also presented at the press conference proof of a letter and text messages sent to Curran on July 5 saying she needed to return her sash and crown—which, according to them, she still has not done.
A rep for Curran had no comment and says no statement will be forthcoming.
Getty Images; Instagram
People have taken to Instagram to blow up even Curran's older posts, writing, "Girls like you are a f--king disease. Dumb bitch." And this call to action: "Everyone report her pictures if enough ppl do it her IG will get shut down."
And then there was this one: "I'm not with Chris Brown , but you can't do a brother like that , bitch . I hope you get stripped of everything ."
Now, Curran having tweeted horrible things and having made some mistakes in her past does not automatically mean she's lying about Chris Brown—any more than Chris Brown having a history of violence and other highly publicized troubles means that he's automatically guilty in this case.
As much as it's impossible to judge each incident in a vacuum, what ultimately matters in this particular case as far as Curran and Brown's interaction went is what actually happened.
Brown didn't help his own cause by refusing to let the police into his house at first, instead holing up and posting several Instagram videos in which he railed against the cops and those who've been quick to demonize him. But once he was in custody, police said that he was being cooperative.
Brown's longtime attorney, Mark Geragos, immediately denounced Curran's story, and he told the Los Angeles Times yesterday, "It has become apparent that the allegations are not just false but fabricated." Geragos said that the LAPD didn't find the jewelry Curran claimed she was looking at when Brown pulled the gun, nor did they find any firearms. (E! News has not yet been able to confirm that with police.) As for the artist himself, upon returning home Wednesday, he said via Instagram he was just going to focus on his music and, sure enough, he dropped a new single.
Assuming that we're not going to be living in an ideal world where everyone is honest and harbors the purest of intentions anytime soon, how are we supposed to feel when this sort of thing happens?
As much as it would make it easier for the legal system and the court of public opinion, most accusers aren't perfect angels, with some having tumultuous pasts. But even those who have just fairly average stuff on their behavioral résumés are often loath to come forward as victims, because anything they've ever done is going to be scrutinized as a possible character flaw that will make their claims sound less true.
That at least used to just be a job for cops and lawyers—law and order, if you will. Poke some holes and may the evidence sink or swim.
But now, thanks to social media, everybody's in on the judgment. And the judging certainly doesn't start at trial, or even when someone gets arrested. It starts the minute a story hits the Internet, no matter how incomplete it is in its infancy.
I was accused of all sorts of bias this week for using Brown's latest run-in with the law as an opportunity to muse on just how many free do-overs the Grammy-winning artist should get before the doors start closing on him. I wondered where the contrite 20-year-old who claimed to be taking full responsibility for what he did to Rihanna had gone? Because for most of the past seven years he's had one scrape after another and he's pointed a lot of fingers at who's out to get him.
My point, basically, was that Chris Brown is a dad now and needs to stop courting trouble. I never assumed that he did what Curran accused him of, and I mentioned several times the very real possibility that something fishy was afoot—because I, like everyone else, have witnessed people make stuff up, particularly when it comes to celebrities. And the less you know about someone beforehand, the more you're going to want to dig into who they are, as the media have done with Curran.
Ryan Lochtesaid he was robbed at gunpoint in Brazil because he didn't want to come clean about he and three other Team USA swimmers vandalizing a gas station and then being put on the spot (by a group that included a gun-wielding security guard) to pay for the damages. He turned himself into an international laughingstock and earned the ire of an entire country for crying wolf, if not flat-out taking advantage of Brazil's tenuous socioeconomic situation.
His story crumbled within a span of two days. It's not clear yet whether Curran's story will similarly crumble. As the LAPD has said, the investigation is ongoing.
But in addition to the general mess it makes if a woman, if not outright lies, then embellishes a story or tries to alter the facts so as to cover up her own role in something she may not be so proud of, it hurts everyone who's got a real story.
Whether it's Lochte in Rio or someone thinking that a celebrity who's been in trouble before will be an easy mark, ultimately we all have a responsibility to not muddy the already polluted waters even more.
If we would like to make victim-shaming-and-blaming a thing of the past, then it's imperative people don't make it harder for real victims to come forward. Otherwise they're just adding fuel to the fire for those whose natural reaction to such things is to assume a woman is lying, even when the alleged perpetrator is someone who has a history of violence against women.
And since almost every single one of us is guilty of having a reaction like that—maybe not this time, but to Amber Heard, or to any number of people who've accused a celebrity we like of doing something bad—it's exhausting for everyone, not just Team [insert celeb's name here], when it becomes impossible to trust what people tell you, what they tell police, what they tell the world via social media, etc.
There aren't just true and fake stories anymore, or purely bad vs. purely good people. Most of us are open to facts and think we would relish some good, hard truth, but prejudicial disbelief can be an imposing barrier to climb. Instead, there's a big gray area full of perception and interpretation and preconceived notions, of accusers who aren't innocent and villains who aren't guilty.
And even when the wrongs are flying every which way, not everyone's a victim.