In case you somehow missed it, comedian and social activist Russel Brand has been accused of rape and sexual assault by four women. The sensational accusations were recently featured on British television and in two major UK newspapers. Brand preemptively put out a short video on Rumble denying all of the allegations, saying that all encounters he had with women were consensual, but the response to the claims was swift and harsh. Other women in the entertainment world have given statements about how “everyone knew” that Brand was sexually aggressive. The producers of his current standup comedy tour have suspended the rest of his appearances. And now YouTube has (again) demonetized Brand’s main channel, which has more than six million subscribers. (Associated Press)
YouTube said Tuesday that Russell Brand will no longer make money from the video streaming site after several women made allegations of sexual assault against the comedian-turned-influencer.
YouTube said monetization of Brand’s account, which has 6.6 million subscribers, has been suspended “following serious allegations against the creator.”
“This decision applies to all channels that may be owned or operated by Russell Brand,” the Google-owned video service said.
Having followed Brand’s primarily political/social work for the past couple of years, I will first say that this decision doesn’t surprise me. YouTube has never liked Russell Brand, and they have demonetized and even suspended him in the past. He talks about subjects that YouTube largely forbids, such as questioning the efficacy of the COVID vaccines or the justifications for supporting the war in Ukraine. He’s frequently written off as a “conspiracy theorist” for those reasons. Of course, they also really hate the way he continuously promotes Rumble, which is the only place where he publishes full-length versions of all of his shows.
With all of that said, we shouldn’t pretend that the accusations are completely preposterous. I’ll confess that I’ve liked a lot of Brand’s recent work, though I obviously don’t agree with him on every issue. He prides himself on being a “radical libertarian” who preaches decentralization and decries government intrusion and the monopolies of power held by major corporations and the military-industrial complex.
But at the same time, Russell Brand has been rather open about the fact that he led a “wild” lifestyle back in his (excessive) drinking and drugging days when he was starring in movies like Get Him to the Greek and Despicable Me. He’s been clean and sober for a number of years now, settling down, getting married again (he was briefly married to Katy Perry during his “wild” years), and raising children. But back in the day, he had quite the reputation for being a serious hellion and a party animal. When you consider the number of women making similar claims about him, the allegations seem to be potentially more credible than, for example, the woman who said similar things about Brett Kavanaugh.
It was recently revealed that Brand only lasted a single season as a judge on Comedy Central’s Roast Battle after one of the female hosts repeatedly made “jokes” about his sexually abusive tendencies. Sure, you can say that it was just a comedy roast show, but a lot of truths are spoken on those shows under the guise of comedy. They fall into the category of “everyone in the industry knows it, but nothing is officially done about it.”
The most disturbing of the allegations involves a woman who claims that Brand had a chauffeur bring her to his home when she was only sixteen and raped her. I later learned that the age of consent in England is 16, not 18, which takes the child abuse angle off the table I suppose, but the story is still quite bad. Another woman claims that he raped her without a condom and she went to a rape crisis center and had a rape kit created as evidence. The Times claims to have confirmed this through medical records.
Brand has been suggesting that these claims are coming out now because people are trying to “silence him” for his radical views. But the people speaking out against him don’t seem particularly political and most come from his own industry. Also, he hasn’t put out a new video since the one I linked above where he denied the allegations. (He typically releases new content every day.) I really don’t want to believe this is true, but this story is growing to be a bit much to ignore. Many of us have long since been disabused of the mantra saying we should “believe all women.” But you clearly have to believe at least some women, and the women in question here may well fall into that category. And if so, Russell Brand needs to make himself accountable.
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