An Examination of The Times' Tale of Allegations against Russell Brand
I read the article, watch the documentary and listened to the podcasts. Here is what I found.
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Russell Brand became the subject of controversy in September when The Times published an exposé, and Channel 4 Dispatches aired a documentary. It's important to note that Brand, who has a large following for his criticisms of mainstream media, the government, and pharmaceutical companies, among others, is now facing scrutiny after receiving praise from Hollywood and a significant portion of the Left for many years. It raises the question: is the exposé solely based on alleged misconduct, or is it also motivated by Brand's platform that, according to much of the mainstream media and establishment, spreads "dangerous" ideas and conspiracy theories, which have made him a target?
The Times exposé was openly accessible until it later vanished behind a paywall. Meanwhile, the Channel 4 Dispatches documentary isn't even available in the US—unless you've got a VPN like me. (Although I did find this “bootleg” on YouTube, I'm not sure how long it will remain up.) Leaving many outside the UK without access to important context included in the documentary and left out of the article. There was also an episode released by The Times podcast “The Story of Our Times.” I'll compare the article, podcast, and documentary to provide a complete analysis of The Times and Dispatches reporting.
Something I want to point out is one of the authors of this exposé, Charlotte Wace, has a little stain of journalistic malpractice in her history. While she worked at the Mail on Sunday, she wrote a defamatory article about beautician Danielle Hindley, falsely accusing her of botching a skin-tightening procedure. Hindley went through a grueling legal battle, facing emotional and financial distress before the Mail admitted to the inaccuracies reported by Wace. While Wace is just one piece of this puzzle, her track record could raise questions about the integrity of the entire investigation.
The exposé and documentary make serious claims against Brand yet keep their sources anonymous. This is troubling because it essentially strips Brand of any opportunity to defend himself. It also prevents the ability of these accusations to be independently verified. Although, I can sympathize with the women wanting to remain anonymous to avoid harassment. However, he's been thrust into the court of public opinion, leaving him open to harassment and bearing a "guilty until proven innocent,“ a label that flips the principle of due process and justice on its head.
And all of this is occurring in the shadow of the #MeToo movement. Originally aimed at highlighting the issue of sexual harassment and assault against women, it has devolved into a crap show where its mantra "believe all women" sidesteps due process, turning accusations into automatic guilt in the public eye.
These women’s accusations must be listened to and verified to determine the truth and if Brand is guilty of any wrongdoing. A woman’s word is not infallible, even on the subject of sexual assault and rape. The women have just as much of a right to be heard, but it is their responsibility to prove Brand is guilty, and Brand has a right to defend himself.
We should listen to and verify the accusations made by these women to determine the truth and whether Brand has done anything criminal. It's important to understand that a woman's statement is not infallible, even when it comes to matters of sexual assault and rape. These women deserve to be heard, but they also have the responsibility to provide evidence that proves Brand's guilt. Brand, on the other hand, has the right to defend himself, which is impossible when he doesn’t even know who his accusers are. Currently, we have allegations from anonymous sources backed by questionably censored evidence and supported by unrelated accounts that report having seen no criminal behavior.
Most astonishingly, the British government flexed its muscle to deplatform Brand following the allegations. Dame Caroline Dinenage, chair of the Culture, Media and Sport Committee, contacted social media platforms to ensure that Brand couldn't monetize his content. While many platforms complied, Rumble stood out by outright rejecting this governmental intrusion, holding fast to free speech and due process. It was Rumble’s response that exposed the UK government pushing for Brand’s deplatforming.
The power players—mainstream media, brands, and even government bodies—appear to have passed judgment on Brand without waiting for conclusive evidence or legal proceedings.
Before we move forward, let me emphasize that the purpose of this article is to analyze The Times’ reporting and determine if their “journalism” is attempting to direct a narrative or report the truth. My purpose is not to determine if the women’s allegations are true or false, as that is impossible since they remain anonymous.
To get a full understanding of the women’s allegations and Brand’s response, read my previous article.
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The Allegations and Analysis
Let's now move on to the heart of the matter—the allegations and accusers as reported by The Times. According to the exposé and documentary, four women are accusing Brand of charges that include grooming, sexual assault, and even rape. Now, let me remind you that all the accusers remain shrouded in anonymity; the names used are pseudonyms. Not even Brand himself is privy to the identities of these women. However, the journalists claim that they provided Brand with details of the incidents to help him "recall" the events when asked for comment and provided eight days to reply. In The Times podcast “Stores of our Times,” Paul Morgan-Bently said that the women remained anonymous even to Brand at their request primarily because they cited fear of retaliation. Which, of course, can happen. However, it also leaves Brand at a convenient disadvantage.
Interestingly, the documentary and podcast portray these anonymous accusers using actors. I'm not talking about reenactments where actors play their roles, but even the actors who speak the accusers' words have their faces hidden. They are adding another layer of separation and protection. It's quite theatrical, in my opinion.
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