"Real" survivors of domestic abuse and sexual assault should be outraged by Mel B's allegations of abuse, lawyers for her estranged husband, Stephen Belafonte, have claimed in a new statement obtained by E! News.
The statement disputed claims made by the Spice Girls singer (real name: Melanie Brown), who filed for divorce in late March after almost 10 years of marriage. She has since been granted a temporary restraining order against Belafonte, whom she has accused of being physically and verbally abusive, forcing her to have threesomes, and threatening her with blackmail.
"What matters most to Mr. Belafonte is the safety and well-being of his daughters and step-daughters," Belafonte's lawyers said. "It's a shame that Ms. Brown elected not to proceed in a respectful and amicable fashion in this very private matter. In due course, Mr. Belafonte will be filing his response to the outrageous and unfounded allegations made by Ms. Brown, which allegations he vehemently denies.
"When the Court determines the truth, it will become clear that this entire charade was nothing more than a smear campaign intended to cover up Ms. Brown's own conduct during the marriage in light of her current involvement with a family television show [America's Got Talent, in which Brown serves as a judge], and in an effort to unfairly gain leverage both financially and with respect to custody of the children.
"When the degree to which Ms. Brown has gone to create a false depiction of her marriage to Mr. Belafonte is uncovered, real victims and survivors of domestic violence and sexual abuse will be understandably offended, angry, and upset. Mr. Belafonte is confident that the truth will come out when he has his day in court at which time he looks forward to being reunited with his children. In the meantime, Mr. Belafonte requests that he and his children be given the space they deserve during this challenging time."
Belafonte and Brown have a 5-year-old daughter, Madison. He has another daughter from a previous relationship, while she is also mother to 18-year-old daughter Phoenix, whose father is ex-husband Jimmy Gulzar, and 10-year-old daughter Angel Iris, whose father is former lover Eddie Murphy.
If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, please call the National Domestic Violence Helpline on 0808 2000 247.