So, however briefly, Mike Tyson was issued a visa to come to New Zealand and make money off his celebrity, despite the fact that a large amount of that celebrity (especially if you’re not into boxing) comes from him being a convicted rapist and general thug.
And when there was an outcry (which apparently caused Life Education Trust to revisit their policy on letting anyone in the office have access to the official letterhead) there were the usual cries: but he’s reformed! Give him a second chance!
And strangely enough I was reminded of a post I wrote three whole years ago about second chances. And I realised that there’s a bit more to the bullshit around “second chances” which I didn’t address.
I do, absolutely, believe in second chances.
But second chances don’t mean that we can never again make an accurate statement about the bad thing, for fear of magically negating the second chance which has been given. Second chances don’t mean we just pretend the bad thing never happened.
There are people who will never buy a Chris Brown album or watch a show hosted by Tony Veitch or go to Mike Tyson’s show in the countries where his famous name doesn’t get him past legal barriers mere abusive schmucks would face.
This is not denying those poor women-bashers a “second chance”. Chris Brown is still making albums. Tony Veitch is still on TV, or at least has been since his crimes became public. And Mike Tyson is still touring the world selling tickets to a show which basically cashes in on his offending and got a cameo in one of the biggest movies of recent times (for reasons that escape me). Looks like they’re all having pretty damn good “second chances” to live their lives of public fame.
When people say those guys deserve a “second chance”, what they’re really saying is how dare you criticise the album/show/celebrity I like. How dare you remind me of those contemptible things they’ve done. I don’t want to have to acknowledge that my fandom is associated with the violent abuse of women.
Sorry, fanpeeps. Tony Veitch broke a woman’s back and then pulled the “I make no excuses for my actions, except all these excuses” stunt. Chris Brown beat Rihanna. Mike Tyson raped a woman.
You can go right ahead and keep supporting their careers if you like. But you don’t get to force the rest of the world to pretend that they’re still perfect admirable role models for your own comfort.