Caring or Calculated? Chris Brown Buys Honda for Survivor of Domestic Violence

Seems to The Drive like spackle over a gaping crevasse of misdeeds.

Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

Is it is possible to do good for the wrong reasons?

Via the singer’s own Instagram account, we know that Chris Brown has given Jessica Roncalli, a survivor of domestic violence, a new car for Christmas. From the picture, it looks like Roncalli and her children will be zipping around in a brand-new Honda HR-V; the kids, in addition, received toys. Few are more deserving of generosity than a family that has gone through such hardship. But does Chris Brown, in turn, deserve to be embraced publicly as an altruist, not a slithery douche who infamously—and savagely—beat Rihanna?

To throw a necessary wrench into what seems an altogether seamless PR campaign on the part of Brown and his team, remember this: In 2009, Rihanna found texts from a former girlfriend on then-boyfriend Brown’s phone and, in response, Brown beat her viciously, driving with his left hand, battering her with his right. Here’s a piece of the police report (Robyn is Rihanna’s first name):

“Robyn F. turned to face Brown and he punched her in the left eye with his right hand. He then drove away in the vehicle and continued to punch her in the face with his right hand while steering the vehicle with his left hand. The assault caused Robyn F.’s mouth to fill with blood and blood to splatter all over her clothing and the interior of the vehicle.”

Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

That was a few years ago, and since then, Brown has undertaken various charitable causes—he donated 2,000 turkeys to families in Queens—and made motions toward contrition and personal growth. The caption beneath the photo reads: I was selfish, arrogant, and cold hearted. I’m able to bless and inspire so many others and I realize that now. While such growth would be otherwise commendable, the public revelation of goodness and self-promotion of good deeds seems calculated.

There are two prices to be paid by those who commit violence against others. Chris Brown was convicted on charges of violence, and paid a fine. His wealth meant that the fine was not painful. The second cost is social opprobrium. Brown assaulted a woman, full stop. So, while his donations are admirable, it takes more than one entry-level CUV and some roasting birds to buy off an entire public. Hopefully, people won’t forget. Chris Brown is still a man who, in the realm of domestic violence, has hurt much more than he’s healed.