The internet can be a great “place” for discussion of ideas and interests between a diverse collection of people most of us normally wouldn’t be able to interact with. It can also be an utter disaster, such as it becomes seemingly anytime anyone calls for accountability from public figures with massive followings.
That’s exactly what happened over this past weekend, after Scottish synth-pop band Chvrches expressed disappointment in masked electronic producer Marshmello for his work with singer Chris Brown and rapper Tyga on the new single “Light It Up” in a post on their Instagram.
“We are really upset, confused, and disappointed by Marshmello’s choice to work with Tyga and Chris Brown,” the band wrote. “We like and respect Marshmello as a person but working with people who are predators and abusers enables, excuses, and ultimately tacitly endorses that behavior. That is not something we can or will stand behind.” Since the band recently worked with the producer on the hit single “Here With Me” they seemed compelled to speak up, and did so.
At first, the response to their statement was reasonable. Tyga commented: “Where all God’s children [sic]. Everyone makes mistakes no ones perfect. Let’s Keep the energy positive.” While his reply was a little wishy-washy and dodged addressing the allegations at hand, it was Chris Brown, who has never been one for measured, rational dialogue, who threw gas on the flame.
On a later post, Brown lambasted the band in the comments, writing an angry, all-caps screed. “BUNCH OF LOSER,” he wrote. “These are the type of people I wish walked in front of a speeding bus full of mental patients. Keep groveling over you own insecurities and hatred. IM BLACK AND PROUD. AND I KNOW ITS HURTS THAT U GUYS ARE STRUGGLING WIT LIFE OR PEACE SO U ARE FORCED TO SEE MY SUCCESS. You aren’t even #2 (REMEMBER 2nd place only means YOU LOST FIRST! TA-TA. GOODDAY PEASANTS”.
Since then, Chvrches’ social media profiles have been bombarded by angry Chris Brown fans, who have insulted and threatened the band collectively and its members individually both in their comments and their direct messages. Frontwoman Lauren Mayberry has taken to posting screenshots of the vitriol that’s been directed their way on behalf of Brown, who has yet to address his own fans’ behavior or condemn their reactions — and probably isn’t very likely to, considering his own response.
And while Mayberry has put a brave face on things, writing “Angry men on the internet can call me all the names they want. I still think domestic abuse is wrong” as a caption on one post revealing the misogynistic attacks of Brown’s fans, the band has reportedly added extra security on tour. In a deleted Twitter exchange with The Guardian’s deputy music editor Laura Snapes, Mayberry revealed that she doesn’t feel safe at home, tweeting:
“I am not staying in my own home when we finish tour because the threats we have received have reached such a scale. We have to have the police at our shows now. If that’s what I deserve for saying mainstream music should be more morally conscious, then so be it.”