Who decided it was time to come for Russell Brand? In the past week, the life and online reputation of outspoken influencer, former A-lister, movie star, comedian Russell Brand has completely fallen apart. While news reports from all the major corporate media brands issue story after story about allegations of sexual misconduct followed by the now predictable articles detailing the wave of cancellations of Brand, a deeper dive shows that this is not exactly organic.
Instead, this appears to be an orchestrated attack designed intentionally to destroy the man's life and career. It starts first with the allegations, which were drawn out of women accusers by The Times. After that, the British government pressured social media companies and streaming services to silence Brand. Once that was underway, media companies reached out to advertisers to encourage them, in turn, to pull their affiliation with Brand and with any platform that continues to allow him to speak.
The Times, in lockstep with other British news outlets, spent years investigating Brand over rumors—many of which he started—about his intensely promiscuous lifestyle while he was a Hollywood celebrity. After culling through the rumors, The Times found four women who were willing to make accusations against Brand.
"All of the accusers," The Times wrote, "said they felt ready to speak out only after being approached by reporter."
The Times further reported that "Several said they felt compelled to do so given Brand's, new found prominence as an online wellness influencer with millions of followers on YouTube and other sites."
The Times found the women, encouraged them to speak out, albeit anonymously, and then penned the article. As soon as it broke, news outlets across the English speaking world published story after story about the allegations, tying them to jokes Brand had made during comedic performances, and sourcing back to his own comments on his life.
If Brand is guilty of a crime, he should be tried in a court of law and given due process and presumption of innocence. But what is happening instead is that he is being tried and convicted by media.
After the allegations were published, YouTube demonetized Brand's channel.
The Culture, Media and Sport Committee of the English Parliament authored a letter to pressure social media companies and streaming platforms to demonetize or ban Brand. The letter was addressed to Chris Pavlovski, Rumble CEO.
"I am writing concerning the serious allegations regarding Russell Brand, in the context of his being a content provider on Rumble with more than 1.4 million followers," the letter from Dame Caroline Dinenage began.
What continued from Dinenage, representing a government entity, is a truly shocking violation of ethics and free speech. It continued "we are also looking at his use of social media, including on Rumble where he issued his pre-emptive response to the accusations made against him by The Sunday Times and Channel 4's Dispatches. While we recognise that Rumble is not the creator of the content published by Mr Brand, we are concerned that he may be able to profit from his content on the platform."
It then continues to press Rumble to demonetize Brand, just as YouTube had done. "We would be grateful if you could confirm whether Mr Brand is able to monetise his content, including his videos relating to the serious accusations against him. If so, we would like to know whether Rumble intends to join YouTube in suspending Mr Brand's ability to earn money on the platform."
Though Brand has not been charged with a crime, not been convicted, but simply anonymously accused, the British government took it upon itself to tell a streaming company that they should not only not allow Brand to speak freely, but to prohibit him from speaking in his own defense.
"We would also like to know," it continued, taking aim at Rumble across the board and not just as regards Brand, "what Rumble is doing to ensure that creators are not able to use the platform to undermine the welfare of victims of inappropriate and potentially illegal behavior."
In other words, the message from the government of England was to cancel Brand. Rumble refused to comply, but a similar letter also went to TikTok, and it is fair to assume that Dinenage and her House of Commons Committee send these letters to other platforms as well.
"Today we received an extremely disturbing letter from a committee chair in the UK Parliament.
While Rumble obviously deplores sexual assault, rape, and all serious crimes, and believes that both alleged victims and the accused are entitled to a full and serious investigation, it is vital to note that recent allegations against Russell Brand have nothing to do with content on Rumble's platform," Pavlovski wrote in reply.
"Just yesterday, YouTube announced that, based solely on these media accusations, it was barring Mr. Brand from monetizing his video content. Rumble stands for very different values. We have devoted ourselves to the vital cause of defending a free internet - meaning an internet where no one arbitrarily dictates which ideas can or cannot be heard, or which citizens may or may not be entitled to a platform," the response continues.
"We regard it as deeply inappropriate and dangerous that the UK Parliament would attempt to control who is allowed to speak on our platform or to earn a living from doing so. Singling out an individual and demanding his ban is even more disturbing given the absence of any connection between the allegations and his content on Rumble. We don't agree with the behavior of many Rumble creators, but we refuse to penalize them for actions that have nothing to do with our platform.
"Although it may be politically and socially easier for Rumble to join a cancel culture mob, doing so would be a violation of our company's values and mission. We emphatically reject the UK Parliament's demands," they say in conclusion.
But Rumble, essentially, stands alone. YouTube caved easily, and other media companies took their lead from The Times, generating outrage among companies that buy advertising.
NBC reached out to sponsors of Brand under the guise of asking for comment, but essentially what NBC did was drag the advertisers into the manufactured fray. NBC demanded to know where those companies stood on the allegations and their relationship with the popular streamer, who often speaks out against the war in Ukraine, forced vaccinations such as with the Covid vaccine, and authoritarianism. Brand's tag line is "stay free."
NBC contacted 10 companies that had relationships with Brand, writing "of 10 companies that have sponsored Brand contacted by NBC News, two, Sticker Mule and Vivobarefoot...said they were suspending work with the personality." These companies were not aware there was an issue until NBC reached out and told them there was one, then put them on the spot to answer for the unproven allegations against Brand.
NBC took comments from those brands, as well as Black Forest Supplements, which declined to abandon Brand, saying "we believe that someone is innocent until proven guilty. Additionally, we know that Russell speaks out against Big Pharma, FDA, Media and the War in Ukraine. So he definitely has some powerful enemies."
On Saturday, more cancellations surfaced. This time, a TikTok channel The News Movement posted a video saying that they had contacted companies that advertise on Rumble. The News Movement was founded by former Dow Jones CEO Will Lewis, launched in 2022, bought The Recount in February and is now seeking to buy British newspaper The Telegraph.
That move from The News Movement targeted not just Brand, but a platform that refused to comply with the cancel mob against Brand. It's not enough for corporate media to, at the behest of a government entity, target a man over anonymous allegations, they also feel it is their job to target any company that does not target him. They cite the allegations against Brand, but they also make sure to point out that Brand has been said to be a "conspiracy theorist." They even go so far as to name companies they reached out to but could not get comment back from.
The rumors of sexual misdeeds surrounding Brand have been public for years. The relationships he had with the women who are now his accusers are also over a decade old. At any point he could have been accused, targeted, vilified, or charged with a crime. But it is only now that he has become a thorn in the side of power that media and government are coming for him.
These allegations are not organic in nature. These four women did not all wake up one day and decide that now was the time for them to seek justice in the court of public opinion. Instead, this was an orchestrated attack to ruin a man for past sins. To charge him with a crime would be to attempt to hold him criminally accountable, and if he is guilty of the rape that has been alleged, that should be determined based on evidence by a jury of his peers.
Instead this is another MeToo, Times Up style cancelling. Brand is not permitted to face his accusers as their identities are anonymous. He is not able to present evidence on his own behalf because he does not have full details of what has been alleged. And if corporate media and the British government have their way, he will not even be able to defend himself online.
This kind of f*ckery has become a kind of madness, a psychosis, wherein the companies undertake the cancelling wish the public to believe that they are acting in accordance with some high moral code. But instead, it is a game of manipulation, in which media and government seek to silence a competitor, or a critic, who they cannot combat on an even playing field, so instead they undermine him, anyone who supports him, and in so doing, betray the very public whose trust they seek to elicit.