herald

Monday 5 December 2016

This man hits women, so why do stars of music, sport and film cheer him?

Floyd Mayweather
Floyd Mayweather

There is a recording of the opening act of the Tony awards, 2013, presented by Neil Patrick Harris on YouTube.

It's brilliant - a breath-taking performance by Harris and other artists who played on Broadway that year. There are dancers, magicians, kids, drag queens ... and there's Mike Tyson.

Yes, Tyson appears on stage, does a little dance and the audience gives a rapturous applause.

What is fascinating about this is the fondness you can feel from the audience. They seem delighted with Tyson's appearance, laughing and whooping with every cutesy little side step he does.

In 1992, Tyson was convicted of raping Desiree Washington and sentenced to six years in prison. There were also allegations from his ex-wife Robin Givens of abuse. Yet in this opening dance number at the Tonys, America cheered him on.

abuse

A few days ago, America cheered on another boxer. Floyd Mayweather Jnr was about to take to a Las Vegas ring in the 'fight of the century' and the arena was filled with celebrities, desperate to be seen supporting the world champion as he fought Manny Pacquiao. It was like the Grammys and the Oscars rolled into one.

Floyd Mayweather has had numerous incidents of domestic abuse. In 2011 he pleaded guilty to a domestic battery charge. Another time he attacked two women at a Vegas nightclub. Once he punched the mother of his children in the head at home.

Yet there were idiots in that Las Vegas stadium, idiots at home paying to watch this match, idiots all around the world supporting this violent abuser, applauding him like a demi-god.

Men who punch women, and also punch men, seem to be forgiven. Our ability to turn a blind eye to Mayweather, and throw adoration and money at him is something we should be ashamed of. Why would this man stop hitting women, when the superstars of music, sport and cinema cheer him on?

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