Russell Brand has opened up about enduring an “extraordinary and distressing week,” marred by serious allegations of rape, sexual assault, and emotional abuse, laying bare his turmoil in a terse three-minute video.
The comedian expressed his gratitude to his followers, acknowledging their support and their skepticism toward the information disseminated about him.
Russell subsequently announced his return to Rumble, an online subscription-based video platform, after being suspended from advertising on YouTube due to the surfacing accusations.
He fiercely criticized the British government, accusing them of imposing censorship on his online content through big technology platforms, and also targeted the BBC and its 'trust news initiative' for purportedly combating fake news.
The accusations hurled at the 48-year-old stem from several women who have laid bare incidents they allege transpired at the zenith of his fame, notably between 2003 and 2013.
These harrowing allegations include the purported rape of a woman in his Los Angeles home and an alleged sexual assault of a minor.
Russell has vehemently denied these accusations, maintaining that any relationship he had was consensual. He had refrained from making any comments since The Sunday Times and Channel 4's Dispatches first broke the news, spotlighting his alleged predatory and abusive behavior.
What Russell said
Addressing his audience via Instagram, Russell said: “Hello there, you awakening wonders, obviously it's been an extraordinary and distressing week and I thank you very much for your support and for questioning the information that you have been presented with.”
“By now, you're probably aware that the British government has asked big tech platforms to censor our online content and that some online platforms have complied with that request.
“'What you may not know is that this happens in the context of the online safety bill which is a piece of UK legislation that grants sweeping surveillance and censorship powers and it's a law that's already been passed.”
He continued: “I also don't imagine that you've heard of the trusted news initiative and now, as often is the case when a word like trusted is used as part of an acronym to describe an unelected body, trust is the last thing you should be offering.
“The trusted news initiative is a collaboration between big tech and legacy media organisations to target, patrol, choke and shut down independent media organisations, like this one.”
The release of Russell’s new video followed closely after a woman's claim that Russell left her feeling 'vulnerable and intimidated,' with the incident adding to the increasing list of serious allegations that Russell “absolutely refutes.”
The mounting accusations prompted further investigations by the Metropolitan Police, and the consequent scandal has had significant repercussions on Russell's career and affiliations. His PR firm, MBC PR, and talent agency, Tavistock Wood, severed their ties with him, and publisher Bluebird suspended their association with the comedian. Channel 4 went a step further, eliminating all its programs associated with Russell from its website.
The repercussions of these unfolding events are reverberating throughout the industry, with calls urging Netflix to expunge Russell's comedy special, Re:Birth, from its catalogue. Russell’s suspension from YouTube’s Partner Programme signifies his channel’s inability to profit from advertising, a move that YouTube asserts is a consequence of the serious allegations against the creator.
The ensuing controversy has also resulted in the suspension of the remaining shows of his new live act, Bipolarisation.
However, amidst this turmoil, Russell persists in maintaining a presence on Rumble, hosting a weekly live show to his 1.4 million followers.
The show is set to return, after a brief hiatus, with the channel focusing on revolutionary ideas, exploring new possibilities beyond religion, capitalism, and communism, especially in the face of a mental health epidemic and looming ecological catastrophe.
Detractors assert that Russell has orchestrated an online 'cult' to rally support in his favor since the inception of the Me Too movement in 2017.
They argue that he uses his platform to promulgate conspiracy theories, asserting that global issues like the pandemic, the Ukraine war, and climate change are diversions orchestrated by the global elite.