By Terry Hunsicker
Russell Brand, a British comedian who has also appeared in several Hollywood productions and currently manages a YouTube channel, has been accused of sexual assault by at least four women.
Revealed in a 78-minute-long documentary published by the United Kingdom-based streaming platform Channel 4, Russell Brand has been accused of one violent rape, grooming and sexually assaulting a 16-year-old, along with two other incidents of sexual assault.
Brand, who was informed of the allegations before their publishing, posted a response on his YouTube channel prior to the allegations being made public.
“I was very very promiscuous,” said Brand in a video titled “So, This Is Happening.” “Now during that time of promiscuity the relationships I had were absolutely always consensual.”
In the initial video, he did not directly address the nature of the allegations but rather made claims about being targeted by mainstream media sources due to his coverage of various conspiracy theories and his right-wing beliefs.
In the wake of these allegations, Brand has faced vast fallout from sites which previously hosted his content. YouTube suspended all monetization from his YouTube channel, several programs he was in were removed from sites affiliated with the British Broadcasting Corporation, and a comedy special from 2009 was removed from the streaming service Paramount+.
YouTube CEO Neal Mohan made an appearance on CBS Morning to explain the company’s decision on Friday.
“If creators have off-platform behavior, or there’s off-platform news that could be damaging to the broader creator ecosystem, you can be suspended from our monetization program,” said Mohan
Additionally, the publisher of several of Brand’s books has also stopped publishing his books following the allegations.
While the fallout from mainstream sources continues, Brand has migrated most of his online presence to the alternative platform Rumble which has announced its intention with a public letter on the social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter, to stand fully behind Brand in allowing him to continue earning revenue on the platform. Rumble also posted the exact letter they received from the UK’s Culture, Media and Sport Committee questioning whether Brand would be allowed to monetize on the platform.
“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,” the site’s CEO Chris Pavlovski said in the public letter. “It is vital to note that recent allegations against Russell Brand have nothing to do with content on Rumble’s platform.”
The Guardian, a UK-based news site, reported that several advertisers pulled out from the platform following the public letter, including Burger King and HelloFresh.
On Friday, following Rumble’s commitment to hosting Russell Brand, Brand posted an additional video on YouTube titled “So…” where he again claims to be under attack by the mainstream media, claims that the UK’s laws are designed for major news sources to be able to attack independent news sources, and announces his intention to now publish videos entirely on Rumble.
Brand’s move to Rumble matches other trends observed on the alternative site by the Pew Research Center in 2022, which reports that 76% of the users lean Republican, while 22% of the prominent accounts on the site were banned or demonetized on other larger platforms.