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Nicole Murphy is known for being the ex-wife of Eddie Murphy, and a socialite who possesses the body and beauty of a deity in her 50s. She's been trending recently, and for all the wrong reasons. In summer 2019, she was caught kissing the married Antoine Fuqua, a film director and producer, with salacious photos to prove it. On September 24, Murphy appeared on The Wendy Williams Show to clear the air around what she calls a “moment,” and apologize for the incident.
She insinuates that she was under the wrong impression and desperately turns to the live audience, asking if they can relate to making a mistake. A few people voice their disagreement, and the camera pans to a woman vehemently shaking her head. A quick perusal of the YouTube comments under this video, and many are bashing her.
“That apology was not sincere!”
“You knew what you was doin’!”
They seemed to be largely unswayed by her apology and her explanation. Yet, I couldn’t help but notice one thing: there was barely a mention of Antoine Fuqua and his involvement in this scandal. As the married half of the adulterous kiss, he is consistently left out of these public stonings. This forms part of a pattern where women are held to a higher moral standard and suffer more shaming for their indiscretions. Men are left off the hook, usually forgiven by their partners and society at large, while women are forced to wear that scarlet “A” for the rest of their lives.
It reminds me of a story I learned in my late teens, of when the religious leaders back in Bible days brought a woman, Mary Magdalene, and flung her down before Jesus and the people.
“She has been caught in adultery, in the very act,” they said. “What is it lawful for us to do to her?”
It is one of the iconic moments where Jesus stoops and writes some kind of message in the sand first, then says “He who is without sin cast the first stone.” The law back then, as they very well knew, was for people caught in adultery to be publicly stoned to death.
One by one, they reflected on their lives and walked away, leaving her alone with Jesus. He told her “Go, and sin no more.”
I always wondered where the man was in this situation, and how come he was not also brought out to be killed. Of course, sexism predates us; women have been disadvantaged in various ways in various cultures for as long as humanity has existed. It’s no surprise that here we are lambasting Nicole Murphy for her sin with no Antoine Fuqua in sight.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying what she did was right or that she’s innocent. I’m saying that everywhere from tabloids to social media comments, there is a disproportionate amount of vitriol targeted at Murphy compared to Fuqua. What does that suggest about cultural norms?
In hip-hop, men boast about their sexual prowess, their hookups, their collection of exotic b***hes and h*es, their ability to “steal your girl” — and this is all celebrated. There is a notion that men are just built like that, it’s natural for them to crave sex more than the average woman and to juggle multiple partners. They are too weak. They see the flash of good weave and a fat ass, and all the self control leaves their body. Good for nothing loose women exist only to tempt these poor souls for a check and some clout.
When infidelities happen, all the animosity is directed to the outside woman when she is actually replaceable. The problem is greater than the woman herself. It is not that she was sexier than his partner or that she actively seduced him; it is that he did not love and respect his woman enough to stay faithful to her in the face of temptation. Sexual attraction is inevitable, and then, unfortunately, there will always be women willing to knowingly sleep with married men. No amount of feminism or sisterhood can change that. The responsibility lies with the man to show that he has good character and can resist the desire to step out on his relationship.
We need to look no further than Beyoncé to realize that cheating is about the man’s flaws rather than the woman’s inadequacies or the allure of an outsider. We need to stop focusing on blaming Eve for offering Adam the forbidden fruit and understand that Adam had the choice to reject the damn fruit.
Like I said, Murphy was wrong. She acknowledged it, stayed cooped up in her house ashamed for some time, apologized to her children, apologized to the public and to Fuqua’s wife on national TV. She could have come blubbering and groveling on the show and people would have said you wasn’t crying like that when you was all over him, sis.
Meanwhile, where is Fuqua’s public apology? Where is his official statement? Where is the outrage over him being caught kissing Nicole Murphy? There are other rumors about Murphy, as well as other rumors about Fuqua’s history of infidelity and him allegedly having a baby from a previous affair.
The only truly innocent party in this whole charade is Lela Rochon, the esteemed actress who is Fuqua’s wife of 20 years. She has stuck with him through thick and thin, and is undeserving of such embarrassment. Fuqua, on the other hand, should not be able to sink under the radar and wait for the storm to blow over while Murphy is dragged through the mud by her pixie cut.