Trigger warning for sexual assault.
It’s been years since I’ve paid all that much attention to Russell Brand, and frankly I don’t want to start paying attention to him again. In the periphery, though, I was aware that he’d been swerving to the right and as Sarah said on our call yesterday, she’d had suspicions about why he was increasingly leaning in that direction and, well, now I guess we know. Because now he’s counting on that audience, and those who have been undermining the “mainstream media”, which Russell has repeatedly attacked over the last several years, to support him in his “victimhood”.
Never mind all the women who’ve come forward in a joint report by The Sunday Times, The Times of London, and Channel 4 Dispatches with allegations of sexual assault and abuse. (You can read the timeline of the allegations here at The Guardian.) They aren’t the true victims in this situation. Instead Russell is countering that it’s a conspiracy to bring him down.
By now we should be familiar with this playbook. It’s DARVO to elicit himpathy and we have seen so many famous men activate this tactic to defend against accusations and protect not only themselves but the systems of misogyny that imperil women. In a video posted ahead of the release by The Sunday Times, The Times, and Channel 4 Dispatches, Brand claims that the only thing he is guilty of is honesty – that he has been forthcoming about his shortcomings, including his past promiscuity, and that the mainstream media is now using his disclosures against him, “metastasising” his candour into crime, crimes which he “absolutely refute[s]”.
And there’s a dog whistle here in his self-defence too. Because in invoking his “promiscuity”, he’s basically signalling to all the f-ckboys out there who are horndogging it night and day – this could happen to you, I’m the YOU in this situation, can’t you relate to me? Which is some bullsh-t because there are plenty of people who sleep around and have a lot of sex and they are fully capable of not r*ping. At the same time, Russell is also appealing to the opposite side of that spectrum: the pearl clutchers out there blaming sex and sex culture as a threat to the children, subtly presenting himself as reformed, a born-again conservative who has seen the dark side of liberalism and is now fighting the good fight, making him a target of those who are trying to bring a good man down.
But female comics for years have been warning each other about Russell. Katherine Ryan is one of them. And as she notes in this clip, it’s “dangerous” for women “to have this conversation”:
On Dispatches tonight, we might find out the who the predator is that Katherine Ryan couldn't name. pic.twitter.com/rt34HXDnxn— Mukhtar (@I_amMukhtar) September 16, 2023
As Deadline reported today, Katherine bravely called out Russell back in 2018 on Roast Battle but they didn’t end up using any of her comments in the final cut:
“The confrontations reveal how speculation about Brand was circulating in the comedy and TV worlds, but he continued to be employed on primetime series. The show appears to be something of a turning point, however, given Brand virtually vanished from UK television screens after 2018.”
And that’s when he started focusing more heavily on YouTube and social media, ingratiating himself more and more with the anti-mainstream movement and banking on the fact that the people who kept quiet about his predation would continue to do so, men in particular. Which is why people are now talking about Daniel Sloss. Daniel participated in the Channel 4 Dispatches documentary, the only male comic willing to go on camera and talk about what he knew.
Which he’d already been doing in his show.
[ russell brand, SA ]— manta del ray (@seafoamghost) September 16, 2023
daniel sloss being one of the very few comedians happy/being safe enough to talk about RB non-anonymously a) doesnâ€™t surprise me, but b) makes me very glad that this clip is truly how he lives his life and it wasnâ€™t all talk https://t.co/DkcP4snKCs pic.twitter.com/zPNYRS6bEK
This the man all the other men should be relating to. If only more could see themselves in Daniel and not in Russell.
Yours in gossip,