The activists plastering CD's and DVDs with "This Man Beats Women" stickers have added Michael Fassbender and John Lennon to their campaign to make the point that racial stereotypes sometimes lets white abusers get a pass for their behavior. We noticed very different online responses when stickers reading "Warning. Do Not Buy This Album! This Man Beats Women," were slapped on Chris Brown's album Fortune than when they more recently started showing up on John Lennon CDs. The Internet emphatically denounced Brown, but had conflicted feelings over Lennon's abusive past. Could the change in tone be due to age-old stereotypes about violent black men?
The activists behind the Abuse Sticks Out have nothing to say in Brown's defense (and neither do we), but they believe it's easier for the media to condemn him and not other abusive artists because, "he fits easily into oppressive stereotypes about black men being inherently violent." By focussing on artists like John Lennon and Michael Fassbender, the activists hope to "break out of this racist mould."
The UK-based organizers have mailed over 50 packs of stickers to guerrilla activists around the country, and they plan to flag work by other artists. A spokesperson told us that Inglorious Basterds actor Michael Fassbender, another white artist, will be the next target: "We do plan to sticker other artists' albums as well as films that contain abusive 'basterds.'" In early 2010, Fassbender's ex-girlfriend accused him of breaking her nose in a hung-over fit of rage. She later withdrew those charges. Despite the uncertainty over Fassbender's actions, images like these appeared in Abuse Sticks Out's Twitter feed today:
"We live in a society that splits an abusive man's actions from his public persona," the organizers say. "Society ignores their abuse. We won't. We are going to sticker every album and film made by abusers that we can."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.