GetUp! rounded up nearly 15,000 signatures urging immigration minister Peter Dutton to refuse Chris Brown a visa into the country, however, they have since taken down the petition writing in its place, “GetUp takes responsibility and apologises unreservedly for the problems of this campaign.”
“We chose to get involved in this campaign because Chris Brown is a massive celebrity and we wanted to put a spotlight on the issue of domestic violence,” national director Paul Oosting told Fairfax.
“Over the course of the weekend a lot of people started reaching out to us and raising the issue of the racist aspects of this campaign. We have a migration system that unfairly targets people of colour and this is a system that we inadvertently fed into. We caused angst and grief and we are unreservedly apologising for that.”
Despite this admission, Oosting said that he finds Brown “abhorrent,” and the apology only relates to the visa aspects of the campaign.
“It’s really damaging to society that men who commit domestic violence are granted celebrity status. There are wide range of white Australian men who have committed acts of domestic violence who enjoy celebrity status,” he said.
At the time, GetUp! praised the government after denying Brown’s visa with campaigner Sally Rugg saying the announcement “sends a strong signal to Australians that the Federal Government are willing to show strong leadership on gendered violence and that they are prepared to condemn violence against women.”
Brown has 28 days to appeal the decision and he has since taken to Twitter to say he would be “more than grateful to come to Australia to raise awareness about domestic violence.”
UPDATE 02/12/15: Just a week before it was scheduled to kick off, Chris Brown’s Australian and New Zealand tour has been officially cancelled.
For those needing assistance, 1800 Respect – the National Sexual Assault Domestic Family Violence Counselling Service – can be reached on 1800 737 732