Russell Brand’s frantic fast-talking comedy never really appealed to me, but he seems to have found a new audience in the past several years as a fast-talking conspiracy theorist on a podcast I’ve never listened to. Braying out loud weird claims just doesn’t appeal, but OK, he’s successfully tapping into a revenue stream that exists.
Except now he’s got criminal charges hanging over his head, being accused of rape and sexual assault. It’s all so predictable: volatile personality gets rich, acquires lots of privilege, uses it to treat other people like things. How will he get out of it? By talking fast, of course.
Brand had already moved to deny what he called “very serious criminal allegations” on Friday night. In a video posted online, he said he had received correspondence from a media company and a newspaper detailing the claims; this is standard practice for journalists preparing to report serious allegations about a named entity.
He issued his denial in a video posted across his accounts on several media platforms, insisting his relationships had always been consensual.
He portrayed the reports as a “litany of extremely egregious and aggressive attacks” and said they pertained to a period of his career when he was working “in the mainstream … As I have written about extensively in my books, I was very, very promiscuous [at that time].”
Brand continued: “Now, during that time of promiscuity the relationships I had were absolutely always consensual. I was always transparent about that then, almost too transparent, and I am being transparent about it now as well.
“To see that transparency metastasised into something criminal, that I absolutely deny, makes me question: is there another agenda at play?”
Somebody explain to him that promiscuity is one thing, but rape is a completely different other thing. You do not get criminally charged for consensual promiscuity.
At least he knows that “consent” is a useful word to deploy when your behavior is brought to light, but I don’t think he grasps what that is, either.
According to the paper’s report, one of the women said Brand entered into a relationship with her while he was 31 and she was still a 16-year-old schoolgirl. She reportedly said he referred to her as “the child” during an alleged emotionally abusive and controlling three-month relationship.
She told Dispatches the presenter once “forced his penis down her throat”, making her choke, which led her to punch him in the stomach to make him stop.
I think we can reject his version of consent when the words “16-year-old schoolgirl” enter the picture.
He has at least dug up the formula that will keep his gullible audience in thrall: it’s a paranoid conspiracy, they’re all out to get me. It’s true, a lot of people will be out to get you if you commit reprehensible crimes.