The early 2000s until around 2015 Russell Brand was a darling of British Television. His comedic timing and his flamboyant style made him an instant hit with the viewing public. His fame started to grow after he hosted the (absolutely awful) reality show Big Brother’s spin off show Big Brother’s little brother. His fame arguably peaked around 2009-15 when he starred in such Hollywood films as Forgetting Sarah Marshall and Get Him to the Greek. Around this time, it felt like you could turn on any channel of British television and you’d see Brand.
Brand’s career trajectory was climbing higher and higher. Then all of sudden he seemed to take a turn towards becoming an activist/health and well being guru. At the start of this new direction it seemed he still hadn’t lost his lustre with his fans. Even being voted him as the world’s fourth most influential thinker! This speaks to a desperation amongst many workers for some kind of oppositional figure to emerge at a time when “democratic” choices have vanished.
During this time, he remained a controversial figure, but this was sold as part of his charm. He was open and honest about his drug and sex addiction which added to a lothario image that was promoted relentlessly by the very same British press that are now tearing him apart for behaviour they previously celebrated.
Over the past 3 years his activist image has increased and he’s been taking positions on politics and world events that the journalists, who once promoted him, would not dare take. He even had Seymour Hersh on his show to discuss his findings about the USA’s involvement in the attack on the Nord Stream gas pipeline which was undoubtedly an act of American terrorism. Hersh was vilified in the mainstream media, if they mentioned him at all, so for Brand to allow him, and others like him, on to his show was an act of defiance against the Anglo-American establishment and their narrative on the Ukraine war.
Over the past week it has been alleged that Brand has committed rape on multiple occasions over the last two decades, with allegations being publicised in the press from as far back as 2003. Brand has denied all the allegations and has stated that he has never done anything that wasn’t consensual. The media has rounded on Brand with all kinds of stories from different women about how the once titled ladies’ man is now an abuser of any woman he has ever come in contact with. All of these alleged acts had taken place around the height of his fame over a decade ago.
Now I am not here to hang Brand before his trial as the media and public opinion seems to have already done, but what we should ask is why now? Why, after ten years, has this just come out now? Why, if his perversions are such an open secret as the media will have you believe, has it only reached our ears this week in 2023, twenty years after the first allegation?
The answer is that he has now become an irritant to the establishment. His YouTube show has popularised issues that the capitalist media is not allowed to cover and his fame gave him a wider audience than any other alternative media sources. Previously any alleged misgivings that might have occurred, same with any famous star of his ilk, had been swept under the rug to protect the star. Now that he has gone rogue with his voicing of anti-establishment opinions this protection has been removed. These accusations, true or not, are being used to silence a dissenting voice against capitalism and imperialism in a time where capitalism in such a crisis they can not allow even the most meagre defiance to continue for fear it will help the flow of anti-western capitalism that is sweeping over the world.
Brand is just another in a long line of journalists/activists that are being silenced for showing the public the ugly side of the western world. From the most high-profile Julian Assange and Tara Reade to Eva Bartlett and Patrick Lancaster, there’s a real attack on anyone who dares to speak out and if they can do this to rich and powerful people like Russell Brand, or even the attempts to silence a non-alternative in Donald Trump, what chance does the everyday worker have if they came for us?