Formal warning: Australian officials consider refusing visa application for Chris Brown
AUSTRALIA — Australia appears set to join the list of countries that have refused to allow entry to controversial singer Chris Brown over his domestic violence record.
Australian authorities have formally warned Brown, who is scheduled to play four big shows in the country in December, that they intend to consider refusing his visa application, Immigration Minister Peter Dutton said in a statement Sunday.
The award-winning R&B singer, who pleaded guilty in 2009 to assaulting Rihanna, his pop star girlfriend at the time, now has 28 days to present material to argue why he should get a visa.
But Brown’s chances appear slim after one government minister spoke out publicly about his case a few days ago.
“People need to understand — if you are going to commit domestic violence and then you want to travel around the world, there are going to be countries that say to you, ‘You cannot come in because you are not of the character that we expect in Australia,'” Minister for Women Michaelia Cash said Thursday.
Activists petition against Brown
Cash said in her previous job as assistant minister for immigration she had prevented an unidentified sportsman from coming to Australia because of his domestic violence convictions.
Australian media identified the sportsman in question as Floyd Mayweather, the boxing champion who has pleaded guilty to domestic violence charges at least three separate times.
Before Cash’s comments, activists had already been calling on the government to deny Brown a visa.
An online petition run by the community advocacy group GetUp! has so far received close to 14,000 signatures.
“Speaking out against Chris Brown has nothing to do with pop music, and everything to do with men’s violence against women,” the petition page says.
Blocked by UK, Canada previously
Brown has run into trouble with immigration authorities in the past.
In 2010, the United Kingdom blocked his plans to perform there, citing concerns he could pose a danger to its citizens. And in February of this year, he canceled shows in Canada after being denied entry at the border.
Brown could also face difficulties getting into Australia’s neighbor New Zealand to play a concert planned for December.
Immigration law there prevents visas from being granted to anyone who has been excluded from another country, CNN affiliate TVNZ reported earlier this month. The singer will need to obtain a special authorization to enter New Zealand, the broadcaster said.
Brown was put on probation for five years in 2009 after pleading guilty to one count of felony assault over the attack on Rihanna. He was jailed for almost three months in 2014 after violating his probation.