Russell Brand slams UK Parliament for demanding social media companies deplatform him

Brand said "this happens in the context of the Online Safety Bill, which is a piece of UK legislation that grants sweeping surveillance and censorship powers."

Katie Daviscourt Seattle WA
Russell Brand on Friday addressed the "distressing week" he had following sexual assault allegations which resulted in social media companies banning Brand from their platforms. Without any due process, the UK Parliament had sent a letter to social media companies demanding for Brand's accounts to be demonetized and he be stripped off the platforms.

"By now you're probably aware that the British government have asked Big Tech platforms to censor our online content, and that some online platforms have complied with that request. What you may not know is that this happens in the context of the Online Safety Bill, which is a piece of UK legislation that grants sweeping surveillance and censorship powers, and it's a law that has already been passed," Brand said in a video.

Brand, who has been demonetized on YouTube, where he has four channels and millions of subscribers, said the UK Parliament is attempting "to target, control, choke, and shut down Independent media organizations" through a coordinated effort between Big Tech and legacy media under its Trusted News Initiative, which is the basis they used to cut Brand off at the knees.

"To give you an idea of what the TNI is, this is a quote from one of their spokespeople," Brand said.

The quote reads: "Because the actual real rivalry now is not between the BBC and CNN, globally. It's actually between all trusted news providers and digital platforms. It's clear that these organizations collaborate in constructing narratives, whether that's around the war or the pandemic."

Brand continued by saying that he is not going to allow the smear campaigns to impact his voice and that he will continue speaking out on topics like Big Pharma, the military-industrial complex, the deep state, and corporate collusion, among others. He encouraged listeners to tune into his podcast on Monday which will be airing on Rumble.

Unlike YouTube, which is known for deplatforming conservative-leaning accounts, Rumble stood up for Brand after receiving a letter from UK Parliament requesting that they demonitize the comedian.

In a statement, Rumble called the letter "extremely disturbing," adding that "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 Russel Brand have nothing to do with content on Rumble’s platform."

The platform noted that on Tuesday, YouTube suspended Brand’s monetization on the platform after anonymous allegations of sexual misconduct arose.

"Rumble stands for different values. We have devoted ourselves to the vital cause of defending a free internet — meaning an internet where no one arbitrarily dictates which ideas can or cannot be heard, or which citizens may or may not be entitled to a platform."

Rumble said the UK Parliament’s "attempt to control who is allowed to speak on our platform or to earn a living from doing so" was "deeply inappropriate and dangerous," adding that singling out a person 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," the statement concluded.

YouTube said its suspension of Brand’s monetization, for a channel that has over 6.6 million subscribers, comes "following serious allegations against the creator."

The allegations against Brand were published after a years long investigation from The Times, The Sunday Times, and Channel 4 Dispatches, in which four women claimed Brand had either raped them or been a controlling, manipulative boyfriend. With the exception of an ex-girlfriend, none of the women allowed the allegations they made to be published alongside their actual name.

The women cited in the investigation told The Times that they had not intended to come forward until they were contacted by journalists. They also said that it is in part due to Brand's recent, newfound success that they felt it necessary to do so.

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