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Russell Brand Under Fire: The Allegations, The Response, and The Question
From Comedy Star to "Conspiracy Theorist": An Analytical Probe into Recent Allegations
I’m a casual consumer of Russell Brand’s content, but honestly, I have never been a huge fan, especially when he was most popular. He was just too much of a degenerate for my taste. I came to admire his willingness to challenge authority and found their obsession with him amusing. Needless to say, recent revelations have piqued my interest.
As I mentioned in my Instagram stories, I dedicated the weekend to diving into a substantial amount of content regarding the allegations involving Russell Brand. I read multiple articles from The Times in the UK, watched the Dispatches documentary “Russell Brand: In Plain Sight,” and listened to the "Stories of Our Times" podcast episode. And let me tell you, I have a plethora of piñatas… er, notes.
In due time, I will thoroughly dissect these allegations and scrutinize the intriguing editorial choices made by the journalist. However, I require some time to compile my notes, organize my thoughts, and obtain answers to a few questions.
But in the meantime, I'd like to give you the details that set this all off. I am not going to share my opinions. This article is just to bring you up to date before I start presenting questions.
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Meet Russell Brand
Over the past four years, many people have become familiar with Russell Brand through his podcast and videos, where he shares heterodox views that challenge the establishment and discusses his personal life, relationships, and wellness. You may have also heard of him because the mainstream media never misses an opportunity to dismiss him as a conspiracy theorist. However, before Brand began questioning mainstream narratives on platforms like YouTube and Rumble, he had a lengthy and diverse career.
Brand's journey gained notoriety in 2006 when he hosted Big Brother in the UK. In time, he hopped the pond and gained fame in the United States after starring in the 2008 film "Forgetting Sarah Marshall," alongside Kristen Bell and Jason Segel, and the 2010 movie "Get Him to the Greek," alongside Jonah Hill. In both films, Brand portrays the fictitious rock star Aldous Snow, lead singer of Infant Sorrow, a character who mirrors Brand’s then persona—self-indulgent, narcissistic, and sex-obsessed. Brand’s entire brand - HA!! - was built on him being a degenerate womanizer, and at the time, people loved him for it.
Today, Russell Brand lives a very different life. He is a recovering drug and sex addict who has reinvented himself by promoting wellness and challenging narratives on his online show Stay Free. He has been married to his wife, Laura Gallacher, for six years, and they have two young daughters.
A recent investigation by UK's The Times, The Sunday Times, and Channel 4 Dispatches reveals allegations of sexual misconduct, sexual assault, and rape, leading some to question if Russell Brand's public persona in the early 2000s and 2010s was a cover for darker, more sinister behavior.
Brand Speaks First
Before the investigation details were made public, Brand released a preemptive response video, denying the allegations and asserting a "coordinated attack." In the video, he mentions the existence of “witnesses whose evidence directly contradicts the narratives” made in the investigation. However, he doesn't provide further information about these witnesses.
The next day, The Times published a lengthy article that outlined allegations of rape, sexual assault, and abuse made against Brand by four women. The report also included background stories from women who had worked with Brand that they described as predatory behavior.
The article spread like wildfire, sparking intense online debates. Some individuals immediately supported the accusers, while others sided with Brand, viewing the allegations as a coordinated attack. Some remained skeptical of both sides, adhering to the principle that allegations should be investigated but that individuals are presumed innocent until proven guilty. I align with the latter perspective, albeit with great suspicion of the motives of mainstream media.
Initially, the article was freely accessible to everyone. However, it has since been placed behind a paywall, along with over 40 other articles related to Brand and the allegations. But I won't criticize The Times for profiting from the sexual trauma of women. (*sarcasm*)
The four accusers in the article have remained anonymous and were portrayed by actors in the documentary and the podcast. In a follow-up podcast episode of “Stories of Our Times,” Paul Morgan-Bentley, Head of Investigations at The Times, clarified that the accusers are not anonymous to The Times, were not paid, did not request payment, do not know one another, and remain anonymous at the women’s request.
Bentley also said that Brand was given eight days to provide comment to The Times before publishing. Although the accusers' identities were kept anonymous to Brand, he was provided details to “help recall events.”
Some additional anonymous women accuse Brand of “controlling, abusive and predatory behavior.” But for today, I will focus on the allegations of the four primary accusers, the details of which are disturbing.
“Alice” 16 (UK) - 2006
Alice crossed paths with Brand in 2006 while shopping at Topshop, a British women's fashion brand at Oxford Circus. Brand had been working at a nearby studio. At that time, Alice was 16, while Brand was 30. The age of consent in the UK is 16. Alice recognized him from television and had seen him perform stand-up comedy. They engaged in a three-month relationship, during which he referred to her as "the child."
Towards the end of their relationship, Alice alleges that Brand sexually assaulted her by forcing his penis down her throat, causing her to choke and have difficulty breathing. She describes attempting to push him away. After fending him off with a punch to the stomach, he said, “Oh, I only wanted to see your mascara run anyway,” showing no remorse. Following the assault, she details a disturbing incident where he was on top of her, pinned her arms underneath him, forced her mouth open, and made her swallow his saliva, leaving her feeling violated and distressed.
“Nadia” 30s (Los Angeles, CA) - 2012
Nadia alleges that Brand raped her in July 2012 at his home in Los Angeles. She met Brand at a party, and before the alleged rape, they engaged in consensual sex.
Nadia went to Brand’s home in the early hours of July 1, 2012, and emerged from his bedroom nude. She was taken by surprise at him being naked. Brand approached and pushed her against a wall, kissed her, and commented, “I’ll keep you safe.”
Brand then informed Nadia that he had a “friend” in the bedroom suggesting a threesome, to which Nadia objected. She tried to escape him but found herself trapped against a wall. The strap of her purse, which was on her shoulder, was caught under a large painting. She says. “He’s a lot taller than me. And he has that glazed look in his eye again. And I can’t move. And I told him, ‘Get off, get off.’ Despite her pleas for him to stop, Nadia alleges that Brand raped her without protection. After the incident, she managed to push him away.
Following the alleged rape, Brand blocked the door to prevent her from leaving. They exchanged a few words before Brand moved to allow Nadia to leave.
Brand and Nadia had the following text exchange.
Meanwhile, she told a friend what had allegedly transpired, and they went to the Rape Treatment Center (RTC) at UCLA Santa Monica Medical Center that day. The Times says that Nadia shared the notes from the RTC with them.
“Phoebe” 20s (Los Angeles, CA) - 2013
Phoebe first met Brand at an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. They began collaborating and entered into a short-lived sexual relationship.
On the night of the alleged sexual assault, Phoebe had been working at Brand's home in West Hollywood. In their haste to attend a late event, she unintentionally left some belongings behind at his home. Upon returning to retrieve her items, she unexpectedly found herself alone with Brand, unaware that a colleague had left.
Phoebe recounts being trapped in a bedroom by Brand and realizing he wanted to have sex with her. She cannot recall if he was in his underwear or already nude, but ultimately, he was naked. She says he “grabbed me and got me on the bed.” When he tried to kiss her and remove her clothes, Phoebe witnessed a drastic change in his demeanor, describing his eyes as turning completely black, “his eyes had no more color, they were black, like the devil. Like a different person literally entered his body.”
She pleaded with Brand to stop until he finally relented. Phoebe says, “I don’t know what the actual definition of ‘sexual assault’ is, but it feels like that. He didn’t rape me.” She then describes his attitude as taking another dark turn, displaying intense anger, verbally lashing out, and shouting “f*** you” and “you’re fired.” Distraught, Phoebe quickly ran out, grabbed her shoes, and ran to her vehicle barefoot.
The Times says that three separate sources confirmed that she had told them about her allegation at the time, while two more were also aware of it.
Jordan Martin (UK) - 2007
This is the only accuser whose name is known. Jordan Martin and Brand had a six-month relationship beginning in February 2007, during which they lived together for a short period. In 2014, Martin self-published a book titled “kNot: Entanglement with a Celebrity,” in which she renames Brand “Randall Grand” and herself “Dina.”
The reported assault took place at The Lowry Hotel in Manchester. Brand grew agitated upon learning that Martin had communicated with an ex-boyfriend, leading him to take her phone, rip the case apart, and pull out the battery. Later, as she was at a sink, he approached her from behind without uttering a word. According to Martin's account in her book, Brand “slides his hand down the front of her low-hanging jeans into her underwear and forces a finger inside of her.” She wrote she was “not ready for this intrusion” and did not find it “sensual or pleasant.”. After the incident, Brand left the room, leaving her feeling bewildered, uneasy, and somewhat shocked.
Martin declined to be interviewed due to personal family circumstances but stands by her account in the book and says that it accurately depicts their relationship. Brand never challenged her on its content.
The Times reports on other allegations, including exposing himself, abusive outbursts, sexual harassment, and predatory behavior. All the sources of these allegations are also anonymous.
Only two individuals were willing to come forward and be named. Helen Berger, a personal assistant of Russell Brand in 2006, shared a story of him showing private images of women to friends. However, in the documentary, she says she “never worried about a lack of consent” and that everyone she saw engage with Brand did so willingly.
The other is comedian Daniel Sloss, who says he first heard “many stories - varied degrees of severity” of Brand’s behavior on the comedy circuit more than ten years ago.
Sloss says that female comedians have established online networks where they alert each other about individuals in the comedy industry with whom they've had unfavorable encounters, including predatory behavior.
He said, “I know there are comedians who have made references in jokes to Russell’s alleged crimes and have either been asked or told not to do those jokes anymore.”
The Times says they have seen messages from one of those WhatsApp groups.
Following the initial allegations, additional women have stepped forward, and The Metropolitan police launched an inquiry into several reported sexual offenses.
One woman has reached out to the Met, claiming she fell victim to a sexual assault in Soho back in 2003.
Authorities have said that their central specialist crime division is probing several offenses that occurred some time ago. To date, no arrests have been made.
Most recently, BBC News reports that the UK's Thames Valley is investigating Brand after a woman contacted the department with "new information" about reports of "harassment and stalking."
The woman had previously made allegations against Brand to the same police department "numerous times between 2018 and 2022," though no action was taken.
However, Brand had also accused the woman of harassment against him in 2017.
Cutting Ties and Demonetization
After the allegations emerged, people swiftly distanced themselves from Brand.
Brand was in the midst of his comedy stand-up tour, "Bipolarisation." However, after the allegations came to light, the remaining three UK tour dates were postponed. The tour's promoters said, "We are postponing these few remaining addiction charity fundraiser shows. We don't like doing it, but we know you'll understand."
Pan Macmillan, the UK publisher, also publicly announced that it had severed ties with Brand following the claims against him.
Brand's upcoming book, "Recovery: The Workbook," set for release in December, was described as a practical guidebook for transitioning from unconscious actions to conscious living.
Brand's comedy tour was being conducted in collaboration with several charitable organizations set to benefit from the proceeds. Noreen Oliver, the founder and managing director of the rehabilitation charity BAC O'Connor, declared that the organization had cut all ties with Brand.
Trevi, a domestic abuse charity slated to receive funds from the Plymouth performance, distanced itself from Brand. The charity expressed deep sadness and distress upon learning about the allegations.
The allegations have also led to his content being removed from the streaming archive of the BBC and the suspension of monetization on his YouTube account.
The suspension, “following serious allegations against the creator,” applies to all channels owned or operated by Brand and will prevent him from earning revenue from ads that run within and alongside his YouTube videos.
“This decision applies to all channels owned or operated by Russell Brand,” said YouTube.
The UK government intervenes
It was revealed that Dame Caroline Dinenage, head of the UK's Commons Culture Committee, has written to social media giants, expressing concerns over the possibility of Brand profiting from his platforms. In other words, the UK government wrote private businesses to tell them not to allow a private individual to earn money on a platform because of allegations made against him.
TikTok was quick to clarify that the Brand’s account is not monetized.
Rumble and X (formerly known as Twitter) aren't joining the cancel culture choir and have expressed no intent of cutting off or silencing this Brand based on off-platform allegations. Elon Musk weighed in, saying he views this as “a co-ordinated media attack.”
Chris Pavlovski, Rumble's chief executive, said plainly: "While it might be a smoother sail politically and socially to hop on the cancel culture bandwagon, that's not how we roll at Rumble. We're not here for the UK parliament's whims."
Starting next month, Rumble will come under the Office of Communications (Ofcom) regulation because of a new Online Safety Bill. Since the platform is accessible in the UK, it must comply with Ofcom's rules and restrictions. These rules include measures we can all agree on, such as banning child pornography. However, the guidelines also cover vaccine misinformation, the subjective concept of hate speech, and new regulations on violence against women and girls. Failure to comply with these restrictions could block Rumble in the UK. Given the allegations against Russell Brand, his presence on the platform might be perceived as "violence against women and girls.”
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The article, podcast, and documentary present compelling stories. However, I've also noticed certain yellow flags. It's important to clarify that these flags don't necessarily invalidate the allegations made by these women. There's no doubt that these allegations deserve a thorough investigation. Although, an independent investigation is challenging when the accusers remain anonymous.
Also, I've observed some editorial choices that, in my opinion, reveal a bias on the part of the journalists. The allegations against Brand are described as a long-time “known secret,” and it is said that previous publications have investigated these same allegations but decided not to publish them. Which leads to the question, why not and why now?
Two truths can coexist: the allegations may have validity, and the media decided to initiate this investigation not simply because of concerns about Brand's behavior towards women but because they saw an opportunity to silence Brand’s “dangerous ideas” that challenge established narratives.
Next, I will dive deep and compare the article, documentary, and podcast. I will ask many questions, point out some interesting editorial choices, and share some additional details for context. To be clear, I have no inside scoop. I am simply researching and sharing my findings.
What say you? Tell me in the comments.