In June, Karrueche Tran was awarded a five-year restraining order against Chris Brown, the ex-boyfriend whom the actress testified in court “told a few people that he was going to kill me.” The ex who allegedly threatened he was going to “take me out” and “threatened to shoot me.” The ex whom Karrueche said “punched me in my stomach twice” several years ago and “pushed me down the stairs.” The ex who physically assaulted Rihanna in 2009. It’s because of that history that I find it incredibly disturbing that conversation over Karrueche’s restraining order against Chris was reduced to a few laughs during her appearance on “The Wendy Williams Show” today.
Ironically — or insensitively rather — Wendy began her inquiry into Karrueche’s relationship with Chris (which has been over for years now) in the context of her having met him after “the world found out what he did to Rihanna.” And yet, after Karrueche explains how their relationship went from friendship to romance, Wendy responds by bringing up the fact that he still has a thing for her and she has a restraining order against him. Not, in a way to suggest — or confirm — Chris’s abusive behavior which was now been well documented, but to do what she does best: Be messy at all costs with no accounting for the gravity of life circumstances she reduces to juicy gossip.
When Karrueche explains why she got the restraining order, saying “I felt like I needed to protect my safety,” Wendy replies, “Was he throwing rocks at your window? Was he ringing your doorbell?” A few bursts of awkward laughter erupt from the audience, as naive and ignorant as Wendy. Meanwhile, Karrueche, a young woman who’s never been the clapback type, tries to laugh off the inquiry, saying “We’re not going to get into that.” Unfortunately, her own naivety is taken advantage of even further when Wendy continues to press, “Does he ever show up at the set screaming your name?” as she mimics a scene from Rocky.
I’m almost certain Wendy didn’t expect Karrueche to come on her Fox talk show and confess Chris Brown physically assaulted her in the past, but this persistent downplaying of what Chris Brown — and all abusers really –are truly capable of and the horror their victims experience, is in a word: disgusting. Actually, there’s a second word: irresponsible.
On average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States and 1 in 7 women have been stalked by an intimate partner during their lifetime “to the point in which they felt very fearful or believed that they or someone close to them would be harmed or killed,” the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence reports. The threat is real and everpresent, and here Wendy Williams is kiki-ing about it on national daytime television as if she’s chatting about a new hair color.
Even if Chris Brown’s violent proclivities weren’t public knowledge, Karrueche’s restraining order is. And the weight of that document did not match the nature of the conversation witnessed in the video clip above. Sure, Karrueche could’ve corrected Wendy or even informed her that what she experienced was far more traumatic than rocks being thrown at her window, but she’s entitled to her right to keep those specifics private. One might even argue she needs more media training to combat gossip bullies like Wendy who will prey on her kind-hearted innocence. And I’d even say her publicists need to do a better job of protecting their client and making conversations about Chris Brown off limits. (And spare me the shade about what else does she have to talk about because there’s plenty, including her hit show Claws).
But who’s going to train Wendy? Who’s going to teach her not to trivialize domestic violence (and drug abuse and cheating and every other celebrity issue she relays for hot topic fodder)? Who’s going to remind her she has a responsibility above and beyond airing famous people’s dirty laundry without shame for a paycheck. She has an audience of people affected by the issues she discusses with less thought than she puts into dramatically sipping her tea every day on set. Just once, I’d like to see her stand for something other than making a mockery of people’s lives. Especially when she’s been alleged to be a victim of abuse herself at the hands of her very own husband.
Either talk about issues like this with the respect and thoughtfulness they deserve or don’t bring them up at all. Domestic violence is more than a juicy tidbit to get people to tune in to your show. After some of her latest slip-ups, Wendy might soon find more people tuning out if she doesn’t clean up her act.