Sunday, April 24, 2011

Celebrity Domestic Violence

A while back, when Chris Brown had his little tantrum about people "bringing this past shit up" (sorry, but it hasn't been that long...) he did make one interesting point on Twitter about how "we praise Charlie sheen and other celebs for there bullshit" [sic].

We are probably the last people who you'd think would ever defend Chris Brown (and we're still not going to!) but he does have a point. Why does Charlie Sheen get a pass when Brown does not? To be clear, we don't think either of them deserve a pass - and in some ways Brown is getting more of a pass than he necessarily deserves - but it's obvious that Sheen is getting away with a long history of domestic violence and has been for some time.

We have seen a lot of different arguments and theories as to why this is... Is it because Sheen is white and Brown is black? Is it because Sheen is arguably more famous (and has been famous for far longer)? Is it because Sheen is an actor and Brown is a hip hop artist? Is it because Sheen has had a 'bad boy' image for a long time, while Brown originally started out with a more squeaky clean image? Is it because Brown beat up a famous and well-loved celebrity while Sheen has abused more 'disposable women' like adult actresses?

It's probably a combination of reasons... but the fact that society given Sheen a pass so many times is a real problem. It's so bad that it has gotten to the point that a lot of people did not even realize what a long, ugly history of violence against women he has had. So this got us thinking... there are a lot of other male celebrities that have histories of domestic abuse or dating abuse... but a lot of people are either ignorant to this or have conveniently 'forgotten' about it.

So here's a little refresher. Obviously this is not even close to a comprehensive list... but it's a start. (We haven't included pro-athletes because the list would just be too long. Maybe we will do an all athlete list in the future.) We invite everyone to comment and add any other names to this list. We also invite you to correct or clarify any information that we have possibly made errors on.

Disclaimer: We're not saying that all of these men and their crimes are necessarily equal and we're not even saying that none of them deserve our 'forgiveness'. We do accept that sometimes there are extenuating circumstances that cause people to act like... well... assholes, such as drug or alcohol abuse or certain psychological issues. (We're NOT saying this is an excuse... but we do have to recognize that sometimes people do get clean, get rehabilitated, get help, and yes... change their ways.) We know that's not usually the case (and like we said, it's not necessarily cause for a pass) but we want to at least acknowledge that there's a difference between a habitual abuser like Sheen and someone who truly has learned from his mistakes, tried to get help and bettered himself. Also, some of the cases listed below are allegations that hae never been proven.

Charlie Sheen
  • In 1990, he shot his then-fiancee, Kelly Preston in the arm. It was deemed an "accident" but she broke off the engagement soon after.
  • In 1996, he plead no contest to a misdemeanor charge of battery with serious bodily injury after having abused his girlfriend Brittany Ashland.
  • In 2005, his wife Denise Richards filed for divorce accusing Sheen of alcohol and drug abuse and threats of violence.
  • In 2009, Sheen was charged with felony menacing and third-degree assault and criminal mischief after assauting his wife and threatening wife Brooke Mueller with a knife. (He pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault as part of a plea bargain that included dismissal of the other charges against him. He was sentenced to 30 days in a drug rehab center, 30 days of probation and 36 hours of anger management.) Mueller told police that he had been violent with her before.
  • In 2011, police removed his twin sons from his custody after ex-wife Mueller obtained a restraining order against Sheen, stating that she was "very concerned" that he is "currently insane."

Gary Oldman
  • During the early 1990s, he had well known problems with alcohol abuse. (The son of an abusive alcoholic, he called himself a recovering alcoholic in 2001.)
  • In 2001, former wife Donya Fiorentino claimed that he had a drug habit and abused her. He claimed that she had a drug problem. (The claims were investigated and he was awarded legal custody of their children. Fiorentino was granted short court-monitored visits.)
  • Today he does not drink alcohol at all and is married to singer Alexandra Edenborough. He credits Alcoholics Anonymous for his success in beating his addiction.

David Hasselhoff
  • In 2006 he filed for divorce from his wife of 16-years, actress Pamela Bach, citing "irreconcilable differences". She later accused him of emotional and physicl abuse, which he denied, and he accused her of being a crazy stalker.
  • In 2007, he was awarded primary physical custody and full legal custody of their two daughters.

Mel Gibson
  • In 2010, Mel Gibson's girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva alleged that Gibson had abused her and filed a domestic violence-related restraining order against him. 
  • A domestic violence investigation was launched against Gibson by the L.A. County Sheriff's Department and he later plead no contest to misdemeanor battery charge. He was sentenced to three years probation, 16 hours of comunity service, a yearlong domestic violence counseling program, and was ordered him to stay away from Grigorieva.
Nicolas Cage

  • This month Nicolas Cage was arrested in New Orleans on charges of domestic abuse battery and disturbing the peace, after a drunken fight with his wife durin which he allegedly pushed her, punched a few cars and "dared police to arrest him".
  • Earlier this year, he was caught on tape getting in a violent fight at a Romanian night club and allegedly got into a drunken verbal brawl in New Orleans during Mardi Gras.
  • In 2009 he was sued by his ex-girlfriend Christina Fulton (mother of his oldest child) for fraud and breach of contract. She also claimed that he inflicted mental, physical and emotional abuse on her.  

Vanilla Ice
  • In 2001, Vanilla Ice (Robert Van Winkle) was arrested for assaulting his wife, Laura Giarritta. According to the criminal complaint, they argued as he drove on the Interstate and he pulled hair from her head to prevent her from jumping out of the truck's window. Four months later, he plead guilty to charges of disorderly conduct and was sentened to probation and ordered to attend famiy therapy sessions.
  • In 2008, he was arrested on a battery charge for allegedly kicking and hitting his wife. (He was released the next day after she declared that he had only pushed her.) He was ordered to stay away from his wife (he could only contact her by phone) and to communicate with his children only under supervision. He was later able to get the case dropped.

Christian Slater
  • In 1989, Christian Slater was sentenced to 10 days in prison after being charged with drunk driving and assault. In 1994, he was arrested when he tried to board a plane with a gun in his luggage and was sentenced to community service.
  • In 1997 he was convicted of assaulting his girlfriend, Michelle Jonas, and a police officer while under the influence of drugs and alcohol. He spent over 100 days in a rehab facility and then was sentenced to 3 months in jail and 3 months in a residential rehab center.

Gary Busey

  • In 1999, actor Gary Busey was taken into custody for investigation of domestic violence after an agument with his wife escalated. He was booked for investigation of misdemeanor spousal battery. His wife, Tiana, said that he had grabbed her shoulders and wrestled her to the ground.
  • In 1997, a United Airlines flight attended accused Busey of having struck her after she bumped him, but criminal charges were not filed.

Terrence Howard
  • In 2001 Terrence Howard was arrested for simple assault, terrorist threats, harassment and stalking, in relation to a violent attack on his estranged wife, Michelle Ghent. According to police reports, he arrived at her house after a phone argument, forced entr by breaking in doors, chased her to the backyard, and punched her in the face twice. He plead guilty in 2002 to disturbing the peace.
  • After Chris Brown's 2009 arrest, Howard was quoted as saying "It's just life man. Chris is a great guy. He'll be all right, and Rihanna knows he loves her, you know? They'll be all right."

Bill Murray

  • In 2008, Bill Murray's wife Jennifer Butler, filed for divorce accusing him of domestic violence, infidelity, abandonment, and sex, drug and alcohol addiction. He is said to have hit her in the face and told her she was "lucky he didn't kill her".

Wesley Snipes/Christoper Williams
  • Halle Berry once told interviewers that an abusive ex-boyfriend had struck her so hard once that she lost most of her hearing in her right ear. Having dated Berry in the early 1990s many assumed that Williams was the unnamed ex-boyfriend.
  • Williams later came out to deny the allegations and claimed that it was in fact Wesley Snipes who "busted her eardrum". Berry has denied that Snipes ever hit her, but never verified whether it was in fact Williams either.

  • In 2000, rapper Eminem (Marshall Mathers) released a song about murdering his wife Kim. In the song, he shouts verbal abuse at Kim and slits her throat while screaming "Bleed, Bitch! Bleed!" After watching him perform the song live in Detroit (during which he abuses a mock-up doll of her on stage) Kim attempted suicide by slashing her wrists. She also sued him for defamation for depicting her violent death in the song.
  • In 2006, Eminem was investigated by police for domestic violence for poking his 13-year-old niece in the head with his finger and threatening to kill her while at his estranged wife, Kim's house. The police decided that his actions did not necessitate an arrest warrant for misdemeanor domestic violence and there was insufficient evidence to warrant criminal charges.
  • In 2008, Eminem told Esquire “I’m a T-shirt guy now. But wifebeaters won’t go out of style, not as long as bitches keep mouthing off.”
  • In 2010, Eminem and Rihanna collaborated on a song "Love the Way You Lie" about domestic abuse. Rihanna was quoted as saying that it was something they had both experienced "on different sides, different ends of the table."

Find information about how to escape domestic violence at or call toll-free: 800-799-SAFE (7233) or 800-787-3224 TTY.  Anonymous & Confidential Help 24/7

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