Is a second chance one too many?

Ciara O'Loughlin

Celebrity felons are often forgiven. by the public far too quickly.

Do the public forgive celebrities for the crimes they have committed, or do they simply forget?

DCU Student’s Union condemned an event held in the Helix on November 2nd which starred former boxing champion Mike Tyson. The event, An Evening with Mike Tyson, sold out the Helix which holds a capacity of 1,860 people.

Tyson was found guilty of raping an 18-year-old woman in 1992. He was given a sentence of six years in prison but was released in 1995 after serving just under three years.

It is not uncommon for celebrities to commit a horrible crime, be slammed in the papers and then months or years later continue their career like nothing had happened.

In February 2009, Chris Brown was arrested for assaulting his then girlfriend Rihanna. Shocking photos emerged of Rihanna’s face just days after the assault. Chris didn’t receive jail time, however, he was placed on a five-year probation and was sentenced to community service.

In 2012, just three years later, he won a Grammy for the best R&B album of the year for his album F.A.M.E. Along with this he has been nominated for a Grammy more than 10 times since the assault.

In summer 2018, he had a number one hit song called Freaky Friday which was impossible to get away from. I would find myself singing along to the catchy tune if it came on Spotify or the radio.

One day when the song came on, I remember thinking: “Isn’t that the same guy who beat up Rihanna?” I found myself feeling instantly guilty for supporting him by listening to the song on Spotify, for which I pay a subscription service.

As it was a number one hit, I assume most people have not had this thought. The incident with Rihanna occurred almost 10 years ago. Have people forgotten about the horrific incident or have they forgiven him? Or, even more depressingly, do they just not care?

Mike Tyson was convicted of rape 36 years ago. Similarly, have people just forgotten about it, or do they believe that he has changed and should be forgiven?

On the DCU SU’s post on Facebook where they condemned the visit, there were many negative comments underneath with people calling them things like “a load of snowflakes”.

One commenter said: “According to DCU SU there is no such thing as a reformed character, or rehabilitation, forgiveness or making amends. Once a crime is committed you are a rapist, murderer, thief or whatever forever. Is that it?”

People can change, and they do, but there always needs to be consequences to the actions that people take.

Celebrities like Chris Brown and Mike Tyson still have successful careers while their victims will undoubtedly hold the trauma that they put them through forever.

As consumers, we need to take responsibility for people and companies that we are supporting. If Mike Tyson was unable to sell an event like this in the first place, there would be no argument.

Ciara O’Loughlin

Image Credit: Megan Hannan