As reported by Us Weekly on Friday, Kendall Jenner and Ed Sheeran are facing backlash after appearing in Chris Brown's new video "Freaky Friday" with rapper Lil Dicky. Given Brown's past behavior, fans of Jenner and Sheeran have been quick to voice their displeasure with the celebrities on Twitter for seemingly supporting his work. (Bustle has reached out to Jenner and Sheeran's reps for comment on the backlash, but did not receive an immediate response.)
In 2009, Brown pleaded guilty to physically assaulting his then-girlfriend Rihanna. The rapper was sentenced to five years of probation and 180 days of community service, according to CNN. Another one of the singer's exes, Karrueche Tran, was granted a restraining order against Brown in 2017, after he allegedly sent her a series of threatening text messages, E! Online reported. Tran also alleged that Brown was physically abusive. According to E! Online, Brown denied Tran's claims at the time in a since-deleted social media post that read, "Make sure ya'll don't be listening to all this bullsh*t, man. What all them other people on the outside doing, let them do what they doing. I don't know what the f*ck they talking about."
While "Freaky Friday" is credited to Lil Dicky, the video features the musician swapping bodies with Brown, and the 28-year-old sings a large portion of the song. The video appears to be intended as comedic in tone, which makes lyrics referencing his "controversial past" all the more glaring.
Jenner and Sheeran both appear at the end of the video for brief cameos, furthering the Freaky Friday plot. Neither of them share scenes with Brown, but it's easy to see why some fans are interpreting their appearances as supporting the rapper, or at the very least, being OK with being part of a project that he's so heavily involved with. Twitter users have strong words on the situation, and they're definitely not holding back.
This isn't the first time Sheeran has collaborated with Brown. In 2015, he joined the rapper onstage at a Las Vegas nightclub to sing Brown's hit "Loyal" — a song that Sheeran has been known to perform at his own concerts, according to Billboard.
Jenner has a history with Brown as well. In the age of Vine, they filmed videos together, and the two have appeared together on social media on more than one occasion in the past. While she hasn't commented on the backlash yet, the model did retweet Lil Dicky's video announcement accompanied by applause emojis on Thursday. One Twitter user wrote, "Please tell me you're not supporting Chris Brown." Another commented on her tweet, "Girl, please don't support an abuser."
Despite this not being the first time that either Sheeran or Jenner have been associated with Brown, some of their fans are clearly unhappy about their participation in the new video. The #MeToo movement has brought conversations about violence, harassment, and abuse toward women to the forefront in recent months, but the conversation is one that still has not been fully reckoned with in the music industry, as the Grammys illustrated.
However, the response to these two stars appearing in the same project as Brown seems to prove that musicians will be included as Hollywood's Time's Up movement continues to progress. And that means when performers choose to work alongside problematic artists, it's likely that they're going to be called out, as seen in this instance.
Some fans are supporting Jenner and Sheeran. But for others, seeing two of their favorite celebrities featured in a video with someone who has pleaded guilty to domestic abuse is beyond disappointing.
If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic abuse, call 911 or the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1(800) 799-SAFE (7233) or visit thehotline.org.