Edinburgh University Law Soc Should Not Fawn Over Chris Brown

CW: domestic violence, misogyny.

This week Chris Brown was handed a restraining order for threatening to kill his former partner, Karrueche Tran, he has previously pled guilty to domestic violence against another former partner, pop-singer Rihanna. Brown’s misogyny has received significant and widespread coverage, and any who are even vaguely familiar with the rapper are aware of this situation.

Edinburgh University Law Society issued a tweet reading: “@ChrisBrown our President is a huge fan, would you mind sneaking in a song or two at our annual Law Society Ball? #LB17 #WeAreLoyal”. Such a flagrant disregard for the performer’s violent misogyny begs belief, and the suggestion that “we are loyal” is deeply unsettling given it could be interpreted to infer that this is a forgiveness of Brown’s many deplorable transgressions.

The tweet has since been deleted, but the fact that it was published in the first place is indicative of a careless approach to a critical issue. Misogyny kills and those who fail to actively call out known abusers are complicit in a society which facilitates this violence. By glazing over Brown’s convictions, professing public admiration from a University society, or tweeting statements of loyalty despite probable and evident criminality, this society is contributing to a culture which minimises the crimes of abusers and gives them cultural carte blanche by indicating that their violence will always be overlooked as footnote. It is deeply ironic that a group of students who intend to pursue careers where they will be upholding the justice of the land should not be more sensitive in this situation.

This is not the first time the group has been at the heart of such controversy, in October 2013 Edinburgh University Law society students received widespread condemnation for sporting blackface at a social event. Whether this latest case, Delta Kappa Epsilon making threats of rape, or the Speculative Society’s historic exclusion of members for their gender or class, Edinburgh University has an ongoing and systemic problem with privileged students perpetuating structural violence as a nonchalant pastime. We need to be actively calling out these deplorable instances and holding these students to account, shying away from such criticism is tantamount to idle complicity.

If you are looking to express your dissatisfaction with the Edinburgh University Law Society, you can reach them on twitter @EdinburghLawSoc,or get in touch with EUSA VPSA Jess Husband.


[This is an ongoing story, as sources are reached for comment this article may be amended or subject to substantive change]

By Simon Fern

President 2016-2017
Comment Editor (2015-2016)
Fringe Theatre and Dance Editor (2016)
4th Year History and English Literature student.

2 replies on “Edinburgh University Law Soc Should Not Fawn Over Chris Brown”

Silly me, thinking that Mr Fern might be involved in fair journalism and embrace freedom of speech. I see that my comments made earlier today have been deleted. Possibly because they did not fit with the agenda of the author, and maybe caused a wee bit of embarrassment.

Well I am happy to take this from the top again and this time I will screen shot it, just to make sure. Here goes:

I will start again by declaring that I am not a law student and have no axe to grind with you or that body. I must also state that I have the same views as any sensible persons in relation to abusive behaviour.

I presume you are aware that the term “loyal” referred to is an actual musical track by Chris Brown? Not a very good track, I will grant you. Puts a different perspective on things when you know that.

I have read the offending tweet and do not believe that the author was in any way endorsing abusive or violent behaviour. (see the “loyal” reference above). It is my opinion that this was meant as a jocular, if “careless” entry. No more, and no less. It is a quantum leap for your article to state that the Law Society is thereby endorsing the behaviour displayed in Chris Brown’s private life.

The tone of your article is disturbing, with sweeping accusations against law society students in particular and “privileged” students at Edinburgh University in general. I assure you that I am not from a privileged background and worked very hard to get to this point.

Like it or not the music industry is littered with inappropriate or downright criminal behaviour. Michael Jackson, although not a convicted paedophile, paid millions of dollars to families to refrain from taking legal action against him. The Beatles – drug abusers. 50 Cents – drug dealer. The list could go on and on.

I may have every track recorded by George Michael and was very upset on hearing of his death. However, it is a fact that he was convicted of having sex in public toilets. I am not homophobic, but I feel that it is right to disagree with that type of behaviour from anyone. However, when I play his music it makes me feel good and I still love it. Go figure.

Chris Brown has sold millions of tracks and has 19.3 million followers on Twitter. Do all of these people actually endorse abusive behaviour towards women? I don’t think so.

People buying or listening to music are not, by default, endorsing the artist’s lifestyle. We like the music, the product. There is the difference.

So next time you are cutting shapes to Michael Jackson or many other artists, have a wee think.

And for goodness sake. You’re a literature student. You’ve plenty time. Please lighten up and go get yourself a sense of humour.

Hi James, we’re actually in the middle of overhauling the comment section at the moment to move towards another platform because currently 90% of our comments are from anonymous trolls leaving antisemitic, misogynist, or generally horrid remarks. We want to have comments only coming from verified users from now on, and this has meant that we are deleting all old comments. If you check any article from before 2017 you should see that comments have been removed. I’m going to leave yours up until 5th March because we really want to close down this old system and start up a new one, and I feel giving you a day or two of internet-time might relieve your fears of censorship. I’m very happy with free speech, and should you want to ever write for the newspaper please do come along to a writers meeting any Tuesday at 1:15pm in Teviot Debating Hall. You’ll also notice that on our Facebook platform we never delete comments.

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