Author: Peter Williams.
There are media hit jobs and there are media hit jobs. English comedian Russell Brand has just copped one of the most savage attacks in the history of the industry. His reputation is sullied, perhaps irretrievably, although he still packed the punters in at his first show post the Sunday Times stories on his activities.
I subscribe to The Times and Sunday Times and as such get the respective editors’ email newsletters regularly. In yesterday’s “Editor’s Choice“ from Ben Taylor at the Sunday Times he wrote “The Sunday Times in collaboration with The Times and Channel 4 has published the results of a four year investigation into the disturbing conduct of Russell Brand.”
The Editor’s Choice continued “He (Brand) responded late on Friday with a diatribe on social media.”
That’s it then. Russell Brand’s conduct has already been decided by this newspaper editor as “disturbing.” See how the narrative has been established. The paper has decided that what happened many years ago now needs to be reported in the context of 2023, not that of 2006 or 2013.
Brand’s early response was a “diatribe” on social media. Presumably that’s a reference to the video he posted online where he could explain himself, in his own unedited words.
Once again, a newspaper has established a “gotcha” narrative. What was once laughed about and actually celebrated by another paper in the Murdoch stable – Brand was named The Sun’s Shagger of the Year three times – is now the most heinous series of sex crimes since Harvey Weinstein and Rolf Harris were put away.
Without sounding too callous, it might be just as well that Shane Warne died.
Let’s get a few things in perspective here. Russell Brand has not been charged with anything. At the time of writing there has not even been a complaint laid with police. A London Metropolitan Police spokesman is quoted in The Times saying “we are aware of media reporting of a series of allegations of sexual assault. At this time we have not received any reports in relation to this.”
The activities occurred between ten and seventeen years ago.
But three significant players in the mainstream media have decided that Brand’s constant need to have sex with women – he claimed he was doing it with 80 women a month at one stage – needs to be prosecuted, not by law enforcement authorities, but by them.
Is there something more sinister is this, something that decrees that Brand must be silenced and his considerable online influence hobbled?
Brand has in his time been a huge star, and always alluring to women.
(I remember him paying a brief daytime visit to TVNZ during a New Zealand tour early in his career. The word went around that he was happy to meet with staff down in the foyer and maybe have a few photos taken. A not insignificant number of female newsroom staff availed themselves of the opportunity. I didn’t bother.)
He hit the heights as a host of the TV show Big Brother’s Big Mouth, he’s acted in person and with his voice in Hollywood movies, most notably in Despicable Me, and he’s had a BBC radio show where he insulted Fawlty Towers star Andrew Sachs.
But in recent times he’s reinvented himself as an online star, as an influencer, wellness guru and what the mainstream media – his opposition for eyes and ears – call a “conspiracy theorist.”
He claims that he has 25 million followers across his digital channels, which are mostly on the Rumble platform.
That’s a significant take from the media establishment. Is it beyond the realms of possibility that noting his attraction, the MSM decided he needed to be brought down? That if he could be shown to be the world’s worst sexual predator, then his listeners and viewers would abandon him?
Of course when you’re the modern day mainstream media, concepts like natural justice aren’t really in play. Nah, the guy is a rapist. He must be stopped. Even worse, he’s an anti-vax conspiracy theorist so that’s another reason to publicly hang, drawer and quarter him.
This is a not a defence of Russell Brand’s sexual proclivities. He’s admitted himself he was a serial womanizer and like Shane Warne and Tiger Woods, needed treatment for his sex addiction.
But The Times also told the story of Alice, not her real name, who had a relationship with Brand when she was 16. On one trip to Brand’s house an Uber driver, who knew where she was going, tried to stop Alice from going inside saying he had a daughter her age and couldn’t stand the thought of a young woman being taken advantage of by Brand, who was then 30 and at the height of his fame. Alice didn’t take the Uber driver’s fatherly advice.
If Russell Brand is to be accused, then the only organization which should do it is the Metropolitan Police, acting on complaints.
They cannot prosecute without complaints. Some may be forthcoming and then there will be an investigation and possibly a court case.
But it is not the role of the media industry to attack one of their own for reasons which may well have far more to do with money and the MSM’s waning influence compared to Brand’s, than with trying to tell the story of numerous innocent and defenseless young women. According to the reports, they may well have been utterly star struck and charmed by a big shot TV star.
Seduction by on-screen performers has been part of the casting couch of life since moving pictures were invented. That’s not to say it’s right.
But to view the activities of history through a 2023 lens is unfair to those in focus. It is unfair to explorers and early colonial settlers, and it is unfair to Russell Brand.
Original article posted at Peter’s Substack