Justin Bieber Draws Heat on Social Media for Comparing Chris Brown to Michael Jackson and Tupac Shakur, Calling His Past Assault Charge a ‘Mistake’

Justin Bieber (left) and Chris Brown (right)

Justin Bieber is coming under fire for defending Chris Brown, who was charged with felony assault for beating then-girlfriend Rihanna the night before the 2009 Grammys.

In an Instagram post late Friday, the “Sorry” singer shared an image that had the phrase “The Legendary Equation” at the top and included photos of Michael Jackson, Tupac Shakur and Chris Brown.

“MJ plus 2 Pac equals CB,” the image reads.

Bieber explained his reasoning behind sharing the image in the post’s caption.

“everyone wants to wait til people die To give them the credit they deserve. I’m calling it now when CB passes away after a long full life, you will miss what you had in front of you the whole time … trust me watch you will see,” he wrote. “the people who have over looked this mans talent because of a mistake he made.. you need to reevaluate! Love you @chrisbrownofficial”

Though the image garnered praise from some – including some fellow artists such as Sean Kingston, who wrote, “big facts lil bro CB legendary” – many of Bieber’s followers weren’t pleased with his message.

“Domestic abuse aint a mistake, especially when its done repeatedly. Im sick to my stomach, definitely unfollowing you, mad disappointed,” one person commented.

“What if Rihanna was Hailey (sic)? Would you say the same?,” another person commented, referencing Bieber’s wife, model Hailey Bieber.

“it wasn’t a mistake. it was a crime,” another wrote.

“Why don’t you just add r Kelly to this list of ‘lEgEnDs,’ ” another said.

“i love you justin but violence is not a mistake its a choice,” another wrote.

“this is so wrong on so many levels,” another said.

After Brown’s 2009 assault charge, he pleaded guilty and was sentenced to five years of probation and 1,400 hours of community service. The incident left Rihanna bloody and bruised, and photos of her battered face were leaked to the public.

SOURCE: USA Today – Sara M. Moniuszko, Yohana Desta and Maeve McDermott