I’ll be honest. I had no idea who Michelle Branch was before she made headlines recently as she was arrested for allegedly assaulting her husband, Patrick Carney, who is a drummer for The Black Keys. Branch is a singer-songwriter and musician in her own right as she was a member of The Wreckers. But this will probably taint her career.
Branch was arrested on Aug. 12 at their residence in the Nashville area after she reportedly told authorities she slapped him once or twice as she was upset as Carney had allegedly had an affair. Branch gave birth to their child in February after suffering a miscarriage in December of 2020. So far, online support for her has been high while there is criticism of Carney for his alleged affair as well as calling the authorities.
The general consensus of several comments I’ve seen are saying that Carney should’ve just sucked it up and taken his punishment like a man. And these are from men as well as women. More women have come out and supported Branch. But unfortunately, they’re wrong to because it creates a double standard.
One TikToker named alstein416 went as far as making several videos justifying it because women have been victims for so long. When asked what would have been her response if the roles were reversed, she made a video excuing it saying that Branch did it in the heat of passion. But if a man hits his wife in the heat of passion, it leads to murder. The video has been deleted. Either it was reported that it was removed or that she got so many negative comments, from both women and men, that she deleted it herself.
Yes, women are victims of domestic abuse more often than men. That doesn’t mean it’s right for a woman to be allowed to hit a man if he was unfaithful. It’s obvious this TikToker has some traumatic history because she views adultery as abuse. I can’t begin to understand what she must have gone through in her past. But having that mentality is doesn’t mean we should turn a blind eye to it.
I posted previous blogs about how Hollywood seems to be okay with women hitting men for reasons that wouldn’t work if the roles were reversed. In Housesguest, Sinbad’s character is slapped because he misses a date with his girlfriend and her parents. In When Harry Met Sally…, Meg Ryan’s Sally slaps Billy Crystal’s Harry because he said something she felt was offensive. In Boomerang, Halley Berry’s character slaps Eddie Murphy’s character because he cheats on her. It’s abuse and we’re supposed to empathize with the women or in the case of Houseguest, think it’s funny Sinbad was slapped.
And that’s another thing Hollywood has done that is tasteless. In Road Trip, a woman beat up her boyfriend’s car and even him with a baseball bat because she thought he cheated on her. It’s no surprise, Todd Phillips, the same director, also thought it was funny in The Hangover for Ed Helms’ character to be threatened with violence and bullied by his girlfriend. And in White Chicks, Marlon Wayans has a wife who is so toxic she gets so mad at him for taking to long to come home by mere minutes when she’s mapped out the direction he should take online.
This isn’t funny. A lot of people have been in these relationships. If a man threatened his girlfriend before she went to a bachelorette party and made her come home from work within X amount of time, it would be something out of Sleeping with the Enemy. In North Country, Richard Jenkins plays a coal miner who blames his daughter played by Charlize Theron of cheating on her husband to explain why she would be beaten up by her husband. It’s a crazy thought but one many people used to believe. I don’t watch the Madea movies, but it seems Tyler Perry thinks an elderly woman threatening to slap people or use violence is funny.
But getting back to the Branch case. This isn’t making the same media the Johnny Depp/Amber Heard case made even though more people sided with Depp. However, people have backtracked. The truth is we don’t know what happens behind closed doors in a relationship. However, Branch didn’t do the right thing if it’s revealed she did in fact assault him, especially with a young infant in a divorce case. It’s likely Carney might drop the case but the police report is still there for his lawyers to use.
Adultery may be grounds in some states for divorce but in Tennessee it isn’t. It’s also not a criminal offense, even though some people won’t rest until the Ten Commandments become law. But if we begin to agree that it’s perfectly legal for someone to assault a spouse if they have even suspected of committed adultery, that’s the same type of crazy laws Christians blame Muslims of committing. I definitely don’t want to live in a country where an honor killing is perfectly legal.
Toxic feminity is the same as toxic masculinity. I haven’t read Jeannette McCurdy’s book I’m Glad My Mom Died, but I can understand why some mothers would act that way. It’s been the typical stereotype that fathers are the stricter disciplinarians. Parenting is a hard job but it doesn’t give anyone the right to be abusive (physically, mentally and/or emotionally). Parents don’t own their kids. But more has come out in recent years of the behavior that women have had on their children.
Brooke Shields made a tearful video of her daughter leaving for college. I remember her speaking of horror stories of parents slapping and beating their kids in restrooms and hallways because they didn’t win modeling or acting roles. But yet we seem to excuse it because it’s child rearing. I remember one summer working at the K-Mart garden center, I heard some screaming from outside and a woman lost it on her children using profanity and immediately jump into the truck and starting beating on them. I think some people came and broke it up. I didn’t see that part as some people came up to the checkout lane.
But a parent who will hit their spouse will most likely hit their children and vice versa. As much as we think it’s funny in movies like House Party where Robin Harris whips Kid for going out to a party while grounded, the harsh reality is many people are abused well into their late teens and even adulthood, which ironically is when it becomes easier to prove a criminal offense. I’ve heard some people say they would beat up the CPS people if their kids called them. Yeah, good parenting there.
I’m not saying Branch will be an abusive parent, but since she does have a 17-year-old daughter from a previous marriage, it still doesn’t look good. The blame isn’t all on Carney no matter how much people want to. While law enforcement looks away when men abuse their wives and girlfriends, I also think they have looked away more when the roles are reversed. Most men don’t even bother to notify authorities because they might feel the judicial system is biased. According to the CDC, one of out seven men over the age of 18 will be the victim of severe physical violence by a partner in their lifetime.
That’s why we have so many true-crime shows such as Snapped, Deadly Women, Dateline NBC, 48 Hours Mystery, etc. And just look at the cases of Betty Broderick, who killed her ex-husband and his wife. Clara Harris was a Texas dentist who killed her husband by running over him in a car. Just this summer in June, Gaylyn Morris, of Indiana, allegedly ran over her boyfriend, Andre Smith, killing him. Both Harris and Morris said they believed their partners were cheating on them.
Violence is never the answer. And pardon me for saying this, but when women make light of situations like with Branch, it just proves why men like Andrew Tate, Joe Rogan, Jordan Peterson and even Bill Burr, who did a stand-up routine on domestic abuse. I, in no way, support anything of what they say or preach, but I understand why many men might look at what they’re saying as the gospel.
I’m also saying this as someone who’s been in two serious relationships with women who were victims of domestic abuse in previous relationships. I also went to school with men who killed women close to them. Even the daughter of a pastor I know from my home town was brutally murdered by her husband and his mistress. So, I’m definitely someone who doesn’t like it when men make jokes or light of domestic abuse. However, I have friends who have been victims by their wives and girlfriends.
Two wrongs don’t make a right. Just because people feel that not a lot has been done to help women and/or children in abusive relationships, it doesn’t mean men should just sit this one out if they are victims too. It’s important to teach to everyone that’s it’s not okay no matter which way the door swings. People can only take abuse so much that they either finally escape it (and hearing how someone “escaped” a relationship will haunt you forever) or they retaliate and someone ends up dead.
Branch is currently planning on going on tour in September. I understand she has a job to do and this was planned before but it still seems a little tasteless in my opinion.
What do you think? Please comment.