As most of you know, Stanford University rapist Brock Turner was recently released after serving three months of a mere six month sentence after raping a fellow student behind a dumpster while she was intoxicated. Turner was given such a measly sentence, according to Judge Aaron Persky, to lessen the negative impact a prolonged jail sentence would have on him...as if the consequences for Turner's actions were more traumatizing than the emotional distress that will follow his victim for the rest of her life. What does Persky's ruling and rapist Brock Turner's release have to say about our judicial system? While men like Brock Turner roam the streets without consequence, having been deemed harmless and their crimes considered unworthy of more than a slap on the wrist, other individuals will serve longer sentences based on drug possession and racial profiling alone. What does this say of preferential treatment and white privilege that rapist Brock Turner (did I mention that he is a rapist?) is held for a brief three months while some of our most famous celebrities--the cream of the crop, the beneficiaries of social media-based capitalism and by all means individuals who can and do typically get away with more than they should--are being detained for sometimes over three times that sentence for tax fraud? Does our society truly hold monetary value over the value of women's safety? To what extent do rapists get off easier than society's revered celebrity idols? Let's examine the evidence:
Not only did Martha Stewart serve five months in prison (two months more than rapist Brock Turner) for a shady back-door stock trade, she was also sentenced to five months of house arrest. Strangely enough, while Stewart was given a flashy bracelet with a monitoring device, Turner was released early on good behavior.
Surely there are people who still remember the #FreeWeezy era, but what some may not remember why. Rapper Lil Wayne served eight months in jail after he was found with a gun on his tour bus. While Lil Wayne did get out an entire four months early (he was originally sentenced to a full year in jail), he served five more months than rapist Brock Turner.
Robert Downey Jr.
Robert Downey Jr. spent one year of a three-year sentence in jail for violating his probation and possession of cocaine. To be fair, RDJ did get out two whole years early after paying five thousand dollars in bail, but he still served a sentence that was four times longer than that of rapist Brock Turner.
Wesley Snipes, star of the Blade series, was sentenced to three years in prison for tax evasion after intentionally failing to file his taxes during a time in which he had earned nearly forty million dollars for his acting. Snipes was denied probation, while rapist Brock Turner was released early with a slap on the wrist and a probationary period as long as the sentence that Wesley Snipes actually served.
A privileged white rapist and a privileged African-American rapist, I wonder who served the longer sentence? Mike Tyson was convicted in 1992 of raping a beauty pageant contestant. Though he was released early, serving only three years of a six-year sentence, Mike Tyson was still held for well over two years longer than Turner despite his celebrity status.
Oscar Pistorius, who some may recognize as a Paralympic sprinter who competed most recently in the 2012 London Paralympics, is still in jail after being found guilty of manslaughter. Pistorius will serve six years in jail for the allegedly accidental murder of his fiance. While this appears to be another case of a white man getting off easy for a largely consequential crime, Pistorius was denied any chance of an appeal and will serve his full six-year sentence...unlike rapist Brock Turner.
Singer James Brown served twenty-five months of a six-year sentence for failing to pull over, thus inciting a car chase and illegal possession of a shotgun. Again, we see another case of a celebrity being released early--in this case serving less than half of his sentence--but even Brown's celebrity status could not earn him the lenient sentence rapist Brock Turner was given. Apparently, it's only okay to blame the victim of a crime if it's a rape victim and not a police officer.