Entertainment

Russell Brand accuses government of bypassing judicial process to censor him on social media

Russell Brand has accused the government of trying to “bypass” the judicial system after his YouTube channel was demonetised in the wake of sexual abuse allegations against him.

In a livestream video on Rumble the comedian also accused the “legacy media” of being in “lockstep” with each other to “support a state agenda” and “silence independent media voices”.

It comes after four women made allegations of rape, sexual assault and abuse against the star between 2006 and 2013 as part of an investigation by The Times, The Sunday Times and Channel 4’s Dispatches.

Another woman, speaking to Sky News, alleged Brand “ripped holes” in her tights and “refused to call her a taxi until she performed a sex act”.

The Metropolitan Police says it has received a number of sexual offence claims about Brand following the publication of the original accusations.

The 48-year-old denies all the allegations against him, says all his relationships were consensual, and has not been charged with any criminal offences.

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Speaking in his livestream, entitled “Are we being silenced? The battle for free speech”, he said: “You know I’ve been demonetised on YouTube. You are aware that the government wrote to social media platforms to demand that I be further censored.

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“In a sense, the bypassing of judicial process, right to punitive measures, financial ones, seems like an interesting stance for a government minister to be suggesting to a big tech platform.”

Taking aim at the government, “legacy media” and big tech platforms, he said: “What we appear to be looking at here are a set of collaborating institutions that have an agenda, and pursue that agenda, even when in pursuing it they have to bypass, obstruct, or absolutely ignore existing judicial or regulatory bodies by moving straight to punitive measures.”

Before the first allegations were published, Brand published a video insisting his relationships had always been consensual.

On Friday, he released a second clip on Rumble in which he claimed the British government had “asked big tech platforms to censor our online content”.

YouTube, owned by Google, demonetised Brand’s channel in the wake of the allegations against him.

However, Rumble, a video site popular with some conservatives and far-right groups, has not demonetised Brand.

Dame Caroline Dinenage, chair of the House of Commons media committee, wrote to Rumble to ask if it would be stopping Brand earning advertising revenue on the platform.

In her letter to Rumble’s founder and chief executive, Chris Pavlovski, Dame Dinenage wrote: “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.

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“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.

“We would also like to know 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 behaviour.”

In a statement, the site refused to demonetise Brand’s channel and described the letter as “deeply inappropriate and dangerous”.

“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 the content on Rumble’s platform,” the platform said in a statement.

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“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.

“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.”

On Monday, the Metropolitan police said a number of sexual offence claims relating to London and elsewhere in the UK had been made against Brand.

The London force said the allegations were all non-recent.

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Russell Brand denies ‘serious allegations’

A statement said: “Following an investigation by Channel 4’s Dispatches and The Sunday Times, the Met has received a number of allegations of sexual offences in London.

“We have also received a number of allegations of sexual offences committed elsewhere in the country and will investigate these.”

There have been no arrests and enquiries continue.

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