In this special report we examine the documentary accusing celebrity Russell Brand of sex crimes. We look at the troubling ideological framing of the film, the plausibility of the accusations and the wider media culture that facilitates people like Brand, and then exploits allegations against them. We also look at some tell tale signs that some people knew about Brand a long time ago.
As most of you will be aware, Russell Brand is a stand up comedian, TV presenter, film and TV actor and, in recent years, online conspiracy media figure. Ditto, most of you will be aware that he has been accused of rape, sexual assault and other related crimes.
These accusations have not been made to the relevant police forces and it appears that Brand will not be arrested or face an investigation or possible prosecution. Instead, as is increasingly the trend, the accusations were made in a non-adversarial context: via newspaper reports and a documentary on Channel 4, here in the UK.
Brand has denied the accusations in an online video, declaring that his relationships have always been consensual but also reiterating his past statements about being a sex addict, or former sex addict. This following his time as a drug addict, which he’s also spoken and written about very publicly.
Since then, he’s been ditched by his publisher (he writes terrible books and had another one due out soon but that seems to have been shelved), his youtube channel has been demonitised and other tech companies have taken actions against him. As I say, he is unlikely to face legal or criminal consequences in response to these allegations, but some relatively minor punishments have already been meted out.
After all, this is a very rich and famous guy who I’m sure could simply self-publish his books if he wanted, and doesn’t need the youtube ad revenue to keep the lights on. The notion that these consequences make much difference to his actual life is laughable, as are the people like Max Blumenthal who are defending Brand against these actions. The narrative being constructed by the conspiracy media hacks is that Brand has been targeted by the mainstream for putting out alternative views, and hence these accusations should be considered nothing other than a nasty media stitch up.
No doubt, dissidents do get targeted. Alex Salmond, for example, was the leader of the Scottish National Party until he was accused of sex crimes by several women. He had to resign as leader of the party and as First Minister of Scotland, and the case went to trial. However, it actually was a stitch up – it was demonstrated in court that the women accusing him were in a private Whatsapp group to coordinate their testimony – not something you’d have to do if you were telling the truth. The case was thrown out, he was found not guilty.
But in the meantime the SNP was taken over by Nicola Sturgeon, a neoliberal establishment politician who takes selfies with Blair’s spin doctor Alistair Campbell on an anti-Brexit march, that sort of thing. Sturgeon is completely corrupt – for example, when her sister and the sister’s husband were arrested and accused of domestic violence (both of them, this is), the charges were mysteriously dropped. All while Sturgeon parades around paying lip service to feminism and presenting domestic and sexual violence as solely crimes of men against women.
When it comes to Scottish Independence, again she has paid a lot of lip service, made a lot of noise, but not actually done anything to host a second referendum. Even post-Brexit, which is something the majority of Scottish people opposed, she said a lot but did nothing. A while back she and her husband were arrested as part of an investigation into massive corruption within the SNP, and she’s been forced to step down. Which has led to the amusing situation where Scotland’s First Minister is Pakistani and Britain’s Prime Minister is Indian. Time for a partition?
One of the things I truly hate about Sturgeon is that even after Salmond was acquitted and it became obvious that the case was a put-up job, she went around saying he was guilty. And because feminism, she got away with it, as did the women who made false allegations against him. So it’s quite satisfying to see her fall, and in such spectacular fashion.
The other obvious example is Julian Assange, who was accused but never charged, but it was the start of the public character assassination and meant that when they started pursuing him under the Espionage Act, many people felt that he deserved it.
That is to say, dissidents do get falsely accused of crimes, and in the last 15 years accusing sex crimes has become the preferred method of taking down a man. The politicisation of sex crimes has been going on for over a century but it has become more acute in the last decade or more. I wasn’t always like this, but both seeing and experiencing how feminism has made it acceptable to simply make a false allegation against a man and, even if innocence is proven, the accuser gets to retain anonymity and faces no legal or other consequences themselves, has made me very anti-feminist. These days it’s just another ideology being used to advance the security state, destroy basic rights like the right to a presumption of innocence, and destroy mutual trust so that the corporate and state authorities can step into that trust vacuum.
Naturally, none of this means that people don’t commit sex crimes – they absolutely do. I’ve mentioned before having been sexually assaulted by several women, all of whom acted like it was either normal or something I should be grateful for. This, again, is something feminism has encouraged – the sick stereotype of men as sexually desperate and therefore happy when someone violates their consent. No doubt, this is a psychosexual state that some people are in, but that’s true regardless of gender, and if Pornhub’s annual reports are anything to go by, women actually feel this more often than men. As is so often the case, I believe this nasty, rapey stereotype is actually a displacement and a projection, whether it’s women treating men like this or vice versa.
Thus, I have a very different perspective on this than most people. I don’t buy the narrative that Brand has been accused because they are trying to silence a dissident voice, but likewise I do accept that this happens. I don’t buy the post-Weinstein #metoo narrative of men’s assault of women being systemic and covered up by a patriarchal establishment, but I do accept that Weinstein was a rapist and it was covered up by people around him. Including some who later accused him.
Then there’s the endless idiotic accusations against Tom Hanks – saying he retired from acting and moved to Greece because paedophilia is legal in Greece. This almost entirely comes from retarded Americans, but it’s worth addressing because of how stupid it is, and how it’s part of the spillover from this mainstreaming of the last decade or more. Paedophilia isn’t a crime – molesting and abusing children is, taking picture of children doing sexual poses is, and so on. But paedophilia is a mental state – arguably a mental illness – not a set of criminal actions. So, paedophilia isn’t a crime in Greece, because it isn’t a crime anywhere. However, all the things that are actual crimes against children are also crimes in Greece.
Indeed, under my Tom Hanks video on youtube you’ll probably find more comments about this than you will about the subject of the video, namely that Hanks entire career has seen him shilling for the security state. But rather than opposing security state propaganda, people want to accuse him of being a child rapist. That’s how deranged the situation has become, and how well misdirected people have become.
As I have said before, the gender war (which all of this is part of – you’ll notice there are few, if any, Hollywood women who are falsely accused) is being manufactured by the culture industries and often supported and sponsored by the state. The FBI and Department of Justice are the most prominent examples, because of course they love a sex crime story because it gets people’s blood boiling and they can direct that anger into support for the state and the justice system. Even as that justice system does an incredibly poor job of investigating and prosecuting sex crimes.
One thing that online feminists love to point to is the statistic about how few rapes result in convictions. This is, of course, a grossly misleading statistic in several major ways. For one, it assumes all the accusations are true, when I would wager a large minority are not. For another, it assumes that the majority of rape victims report it to the police, when I would wager a large majority do not. Also, this is almost always a statistic concerning women who have been raped by men, or at least are accusing that. I’ve literally never heard a feminist even acknowledge that women rape men, let alone heard them cite statistics about how few of those men report those crimes or how few of those reports result in convictions. I’m absolutely certain the numbers are even more disgraceful. Let alone men raping men, women raping women, and people of other genders being either perpetrators or victims. It’s always just the one framing.
However, they aren’t fundamentally wrong – the justice system is truly shit at dealing with these crimes and responding to them in an intelligent and sensitive way. And this is where Law and Order: Special Victims Unit steps in, in that it features a violent, vengeful, female cop who beats and berates suspects, always assumes a man is guilty if accused by a woman, and is kind of feminist version of Vic from The Shield. The show, supported by the NYPD since forever, serves up viciousness by agents of the government, a state-sponsored revenge fantasy.
Consider that even when John Oliver did a half hour critique of the Law and Order franchise as copaganda, he praised them for this.
Therefore, I want us to examine the documentary wherein the accusations were made against Brand, and the accusations themselves, in a different context to the one offered up either by the mainstream or the mainstream alternative media. I don’t see this as a story of a lone predator or of the destruction of a conspiracy icon, but as something else.
Russell Brand – In Plain Sight
The documentary is called Russell Brand – In Plain Sight, not to be confused with the 9/11 video with a similar title. It came out via Channel 4’s documentary series Dispatches, which used to be a good series but like so many has become far more shallow and tabloid.
Before we get into the details, my basic reaction is that I have lots of problems with the documentary but the accusations are plausible. The film is quite well done, moving between footage from Brand’s stand up gigs and radio shows where he’s saying fairly disgusting things and interviews, mostly with actors portraying alleged victims. They are drawing parallels between what we know about him from his public behaviour, and how that fits with the accusations made about his private behaviour.
Certainly, the accusations are coherent with how he behaves in public. Brand has always been a narcissistic prick, and like so many shit, unfunny British comics and TV personalities he ended up working in the US when everyone over here got sick of him. James Corden, Ricky Gervais, Piers Morgan – all insufferably smug, arrogant assholes who rode a wave of hype around their mediocre content and once they became overexposed on this side of the Atlantic they found a new, even dumber audience on the other side.
Note that three of these men – Gervais, Morgan and Brand – have all tried to build a reputation as truthtellers, the guys who say the unsayable, the ones who say what everyone’s thinking but no one dares to say out loud. And yet, none of them really tell the truth about anything. Gervais and Morgan just pick on easy targets to appeal to people who don’t like those easy targets (with Gervais it’s often religious people, with Morgan it’s anyone who isn’t a right wing millionaire), whereas Brand delivers conspiracy-themed word salads with a bullshit dressing. His Rumble and Youtube shows are heavy on rhetoric, extremely light on facts. He’s filled a gap in the market created by Alex Jones self-imploding into irrelevance because he felt it was a matter of global importance to declare that dead schoolchildren are crisis actors, or never existed.
As such, the notion that Russell Brand is an entitled, cruel moron who thinks he can shove his dick anywhere he wants is not a radical stretch of the imagination. Let alone the creepy eyes and sociopathic smile he often puts on. But let’s get into some specifics, both in terms of the problems with the documentary and the problems with Brand.
The most obvious problem I have with the film itself is how they used actors to represent the accusers – four out of five, at least. But they presented those actors in the same way they did the people who weren’t actors – their faces in shadow, anonymised or semi-anonymised. Which makes people forget that they’re actors, and think they’re watching the actual person making this accusation.
Likewise, the statements by the actors sound scripted, as though the women making the accusations have sat down and been interviewed or written out statements, and then the producers have edited out of that the specific lines they wanted for their documentary. And then filmed them in such a way that they seem like excerpts from a real interview, not an actor delivering chosen lines.
I totally understand that some people wished to participate without being identified, and I’m a true believer in personal privacy (and bodily autonomy and personal consent of all kinds). I get that, so I’m not blaming the women for wanting to take part but do so in a protected way. I’m blaming the producers for having one caption mentioning that most of this is actors, and shooting and editing them in such a way that you might easily forget these people are acting.
Hence, media coverage talking about ‘victim testimony’, which is a grossly misleading characterisation. These people aren’t testifying, they’re not in court, they aren’t subject to cross examination or challenge of any kind. They are actors reading a script of statements made by someone who is making accusations – potentially true accusations, but hardly ‘victim testimony’. The reporting on this has sought to confuse people even further – and why do that, if you’re not prejudiced and presuming guilt?
The bigger problem I have with the documentary is how it is entirely gendered and ideological in its framing. One of the opening captions says that the Times newspaper and Dispatches have been ‘investigating Russell Brand’s treatment of women for more than a year’. Not that they’ve been investigating accusations against him, but his ‘treatment of women’.
That sounds like a comprehensive study, and yet the only women they chose to include in the edit are women making accusations against him, or at least characterising him very negatively. I can only imagine some women have had positive experiences with Brand, but naturally the Times and Dispatches didn’t include them in their assessment of ‘Brand’s treatment of women’. They chose to gender this, to make this about more than accusations of serious crimes, and turned it into a #metoo feminist film.
This becomes grossly apparent when they get started on the timeline of Brand’s behaviour – some of these accusations go back 10 years or more, so they cover quite a lot of ground. What I found especially manipulative is that they conflated Brand’s sex addiction and promiscuous sexual behaviour with crimes.
Brand shot to fame via presenting parts the show Big Brother, the one where they lock a bunch of boring people in a house together and hope they either get into a fight or have sex. Taking its name from Orwell’s symbol of a totalitarian surveillance state, the show absolutely was about normalising CCTV and trying to appeal to people’s vanity and desire for fame as a means of selling them on constantly being watched. Fine for the exhibitionists, horrible for the rest of us.
Also, the show was one of the first, if not the first, to have a livestream on the internet as well as packaged TV shows that went out on scheduled broadcast TV. I’m not saying Big Brother invented online livestreaming pornography, but they certainly mainstreamed it. And now look where we are, in a digital playground for the sexually monstrous.
My point being that the entire culture of the show was sick, voyeuristic, exploitative, objectifying. So no surprise, they hired Russell Brand and then promoted him. This part of the documentary discusses how during this period Brand was incredibly promiscuous – sleeping with multiple women a day, often having quickies in his dressing room and so on. It also includes interviews with staffers on the show who admitted they acted as his pimps, finding women from the audience or wherever to feed his appetites.
I have two massive criticisms here. One: it takes two to tango. If young women met Brand, fucked him in his dressing room 15 minutes later, and then phoned up crying and complaining about him not calling them then more fool them. They chose to do that, they chose to use him for sex just as much as he was using them for sex. If you say yes to someone so soon after meeting them then you’re sending out a very clear signal that this is shallow, it’s just about a quick fuck, it doesn’t really matter. To then turn around and claim it somehow did matter and was so upsetting when he didn’t call is the height of hypocrisy. It’s also not criminal in any way, and if it’s a sign of Brand being a misogynist then it’s also a sign of these young women being misandrist, of them seeing him as a sexual object just as he saw them in that way.
But of course, this is a feminist film so the man is a promiscuous predator and the women who were equally shallow and promiscuous are innocent little victims. And Brand sleeping around while working on Big Brother is obviously the start of what led to him raping women later on, because it’s the same thing. Like all feminist propaganda, this is simply a pack of lies and manipulations.
The second problem I have is that Channel 4, or at least the production company making Big Brother for Channel 4, participated in this. So, is this documentary about exposing a predator, or is it about Channel 4 trying to wash their hands of responsibility and civil liability if any of this ever gets to court? Since the documentary aired, Channel 4 have made a big fuss about how they’ve improved their safeguarding procedures and tightened up their complaints protocols and how none of this could happen now. This film is as much corporate PR for the company who facilitated the actions of a narcissistic sex addict they never should have hired as it is a feminist propaganda piece as it is a true crime documentary.
This theme continues as the accusations become serious, and criminal. One of the accusers was 16 when she met Brand, and began a sexual relationship with him. She is introduced (via an actor) saying that there should be laws against it, that a 30 year old Russell Brand shouldn’t be allowed to be in a relationship with a 16 year old.
But the film makers chose to include this for dramatic, emotional purposes, because they never reflect on that statement. Let’s consider what is being said here. If it would be a crime to be in such a relationship, then isn’t she saying that she would also be a criminal? After all, she entered into the relationship willingly. So, why isn’t she just as guilty as he is? 16 year old girls pursue older men all the time, pretending like they aren’t in charge of their own sexual choices is another lie. And the implication is either that women shouldn’t be able to make their own sexual choices – which is contradictory to the whole point of the documentary, that Brand is accused of serious violations of women’s consent – or that it’s only men who shouldn’t be allowed to do things, while women should be able to do anything and never face consequences for their actions.
As I say, the entire documentary is framed like this – picking up on the lies – sorry, academically sourced talking points – of popular feminism and conflating them with allegations against a guy who was, they admit, supported and protected by the media establishment. And many of the people in that media establishment, including most of his bosses at BBC Radio 2, are women. Why aren’t they to blame for this situation, at least in part?
Despite all these deceits, when it comes to the accusations themselves there is nothing outlandish or implausible. That is one of the first things I look for when this sort of very public accusation is made – does this actually sound like things that people do? Sometimes you get lurid accusations that have obviously been made up or exaggerated because the details themselves are implausible, contradictory or don’t add up. And the media seize on those details because they are shocking or otherwise will provoke simple-minded reactions, not caring whether they are true, and not caring about either the accuser or the accused.
This documentary contained none of that when it came to the criminal accusations themselves. Nothing that Brand is accused of by any of these five women is absurd or unrealistic. And all of it is coherent with his public behaviour – in that he has no respect for other people’s boundaries, is obsessed with sex, is disrespectful and demeaning about people in a sexual way, and is a self-absorbed cretin who has lucked his way into fame and money. One story where a woman he’d had a prior relationship with went to his home, and he was running around his bedroom in underwear, stripped naked, chased her around, initially in a somewhat playful way but then not, and then forced her onto the bed and tried to rape her – sounds like something Russell Brand would do. He loves taking his clothes off, he seems to find it funny when his behaviour embarrasses people or makes them uncomfortable, and having dealt with other people like this in my personal life, I can tell you they are capable of almost anything. They will just keep pushing at boundaries to see what they can get away with, what people will tolerate from them even when they obviously dislike it, (or worse than ‘dislike’ it).
Why? Because narcissism is driven by insecurity. Let’s face it, Russell Brand is kind of a loser. He can’t sing, his humour is driven by being disgusting (i.e. making the audience uncomfortable so they laugh to try to alleviate that feeling), he can’t dance, just like Gervais his acting performances are all just him playing himself. He isn’t actually a talented person, he’s made it so far precisely because mainstream media loves an asshole. A puckered, bleached asshole. It stimulates reactions, drives ratings and advertising revenue, and lowers people’s expectations of what constitutes entertainment. From a big media company’s point of view: what’s not to like about someone like that?
So, deep down Brand is desperately seeking acceptance from the world, the sense of security that comes from popularity. But the problem is that popularity only provides a sense of connecting with people, it doesn’t actually provide intimacy. So, in his intimate relationships he pushes at people’s boundaries, does things he knows they don’t want him to, to see if they’ll stay, see if they’ll tolerate him at his worst. He has pretty much admitted to all of this – which in turn is another form of seeking acceptance. He shows as much of his true self as he thinks he can get away with, and sees if he can get away with it.
Thus, everyone who has participated in this is somewhat responsible for it, because they’ve fed into this dynamic whereby he behaves worse and worse and people say it’s so hilarious and controversial, which only encourages the worst in him. It goes way beyond some line producer feeding willing young women into his dressing room for an endless string of disappointing quickies that do nothing to fill the God-shaped hole inside all of us. This is a story about all of us, and what we will tolerate in the name of so-called entertainment.
Which is why so many people have leapt in and tried to narrativise their way out of any responsibility for this. Many of Brand’s supporters have fallen back to a defensive position – he’s being attacked for being a dissenter, a conspiracy theorist, a truthteller, whatever. I assume most of these people never bothered to watch the documentary or consider the similarity between what these women have described and how Brand has behaved throughout his career. The counter to this is his critics saying he only chose the conspiracy media route because he knew that if something came out, he’d have a lot of willing supporters ready to disbelieve it.
I don’t think Brand is that cunning or clever, to be honest, and it’s hardly just the conspiracy-themed media that perpetuates conspiracy theories, plays to a target audience and then seeks their support when things go wrong. That’s a description of how almost the entire media landscape operates.
Here again, we see the stark gendering of the discussion. The majority audience for ‘online conspiracy media’ is male, so commentators (mostly female ones) have made hay talking about how that audience don’t believe the accusations. Well, of course they don’t – the entire framing of the documentary was aimed at women, especially feminists, i.e. women who hate men and believe any accusation against them. You make a piece of female-oriented feminist propaganda and then complain that it doesn’t chime with men. Seems like a fait accompli, a self-fulfilling prophecy. Kinda like when they made yet another version of Little Women, with pop feminist Emma Watson, then criticised men for not going to see it.
Put simply, no one is entitled to expect other people to think, feel or believe the same things that they do, and any time anyone tries to make you feel guilty for not thinking, feeling or believing the same as them, or tries to insult or degrade or stereotype you for that, they are the hateful and controlling one.
That is to say, the response of many of the people who believe the accusations against Brand – as I tend to, on the balance of probability – originates in the same kind of narcissism that Brand’s behaviour does.
The Court of Public Opinion, and How Media Predicted the Brand Scandal
We often hear the phrase these days ‘the court of public opinion’. For a while, I used it but I try not to anymore because it’s become a license for stupid, bigoted people to excuse their stupidity and bigotry.
Let me explain.
Obviously, courts are far from perfect. Someone being acquitted doesn’t mean they are innocent, someone being convicted doesn’t mean they are guilty. This is especially the case with jury trials, because most jurors haven’t a clue how to weigh evidence, assess a witness’s credibility or any of the relevant skills to making such judgements.
And in this case, it isn’t going to court. So we’re left with the ‘court of public opinion’. First, there is no such thing as public opinion. There are individuals, and there is groupthink, but there’s literally no topic on which everyone agrees or everyone falls into discrete categories of opinion. Second, the ‘court of public opinion’ almost always presumes guilt, and then takes actions against the party they are presuming is guilty.
Thus, the notion that this other court is somehow harmless, so people can just believe whatever they want and it doesn’t matter, is another lie. It does matter – people’s lives get ruined, careers, families, other relationships. Look at what happened to Kevin Spacey, a man widely presumed to be guilty but who keeps getting acquitted. Are those acquittals being reported in the same volume and with the same attention-seeking noise as the accusations? Of course not. Is anyone criticising Netflix for jumping the gun and presuming guilt when they fired him? Of course not.
Whether Spacey is guilty or not, I don’t know, but the way his life has been ruined on the basis of accusations alone, because the ‘court of public opinion’ is ‘entitled to its opinion’ represents one of the worst phenomena of modern society. I understand where it comes from – everyone has experienced injustices that were never dealt with, never resolved, and hence when media encourages us to displace that frustration from our own lives onto this other case that has fuck all to do with us, we fall into the trap. Or at least, enough people fall into the trap that it keeps working.
Indeed, in the ‘court of public opinion’, much like in the feminist media court, the one thing you’ll never hear is that people, especially men, have a right to a presumption of innocence. But that is perhaps the most fundamental right that people do have, to not have their houses burned down by an angry mob who read something in a newspaper that may or may not be true. To not have the government lock you up on the basis of people simply saying things. To not have your livelihood ruined because of statements that might turn out to be false.
However, as I say the accusations against Brand are compelling, realistic, seem cohesive with what else we know about him. In some cases there are pieces of corroborating evidence too. Most of this has been lost in the slew of identity politics and bullshit that’s fallen out of the mouths of almost everyone commenting on this, but nonetheless, you can watch the documentary and see for yourself what you make of it. I certainly encourage people to do that before forming any kind of strong opinion.
An angle that no one has picked up on is how this situation has been pre-empted by entertainment media, both in a show where Brand appears, and in one partly based on him. The documentary picks out clips from his time on Big Brother, his stand up shows, his radio shows, all of which indicate that this is a deeply insecure, disturbed person who has no regard for other people’s boundaries. But they didn’t pick up on this, whereas it was one of the first things that struck me after watching the documentary.
What am I talking about? Ballers, and Nathan Barley. Ballers is one of the shows Brand managed to wangle his way onto after he moved to America. It’s actually quite good, the best thing Peter Berg has ever done by some distance. It’s a show about two financial managers who work with a variety of sportspeople – mostly NFL players, that stars The Rock as a retired NFL player who is now a financial manager. Lots of fun characters and, as it goes on, it becomes less of a comedy and more of an emotional drama, which I enjoyed. Certainly, it’s not complete trash.
In season four, Russell Brand is introduced as a new character – Lance Klians, the owner of an extreme sports channel and sports agency, which The Rock and his partner buy into. Brand, as always, plays himself – there’s a scene where they’re at the beach talking about surfers and he just strips naked and wanders into the ocean. How amazing and funny and controversial. But not now. Not anymore.
This is strung out into the whole character – there’s a scene where Lance is in the office talking about the next surfing competition and how the beach will be ‘strewn with pussy’. He then introduces the financial managers to some of his staff – all of whom are women in their early 20s.
You might say, so what? So they played on his real life history as a sex addict when coming up with the character, why does that matter? On reflection, this looks like more like another public confession from Brand, another pushing at the boundaries to see if people will accept it, another effort to normalise his attitudes and behaviours. And, another effort that was supported by the media industry.
I do have to wonder, why do people keep hiring this guy? Is it because he’s a shitshow, and hence draws in eyeballs, and the people hiring him simply don’t care about anything else?
That episode of Ballers broadcast in 2018, but the other show I want to highlight for you is from 2005 – Nathan Barley, created by Chris Morris and Charlie Brooker. It’s a comedy about the hipster London media scene and the emerging online media culture, and while it might be difficult for non-UK audiences I do recommend it. The central character, Nathan, is a trust fund dick who describes himself as a ‘self facilitating media node’, i.e. he does whatever he likes and acts like he’s a big deal, so some people buy into that and treat him like he’s a big deal.
The character is partly based on Russell Brand – if you go back to his early career and a show called Re: Brand, you’ll see the visual similarity between the character and Russell in his younger years. If you watch the show you’ll also pick up on some character traits and speech patterns, particularly how both Russell and Nathan switch between a working class East London cockney accent and a posher, more received pronunciation Kent accent. Brand very much came up in the time of Damon Albarn and Jamie Oliver, when faking a cockney accent was how you got on TV in this country.
Indeed, there’s an episode of Re: Brand where Russell explores the ‘stray’ scene – seemingly straight men who occasionally take a walk on the wild side and engage in gay sex. Brand is shown giving a handjob to a guy in a pub toilet. This is replicated on Nathan Barley, though it isn’t Nathan who does the handjob, it’s another character who is told to do it by his editor.
It is in this episode – episode 5 of the one and only season – that Nathan meets a young women doing cocaine in the toilets of a nightclub.
She tells him that her uncle molested her when she was 8 years old, but that it never happened and she doesn’t even have an uncle. It turns out her therapist has told her to write songs about uncles, so Nathan says they should shoot a music video together. She agrees, and borrows 50 quid off him for more coke.
So they shoot the music video, and afterwards Nathan, who by this point has leant her more money for coke – nearly £300 – starts manipulating her, so she offers him a blowjob to pay him back. He accepts – because this is what he was getting at. Then, a twist – she works as a model, and a magazine with pictures of her says that she’s only 13, leading to an awkward situation for Nathan. It later emerges that she is actually 18, and the magazine lied to get attention, leading to Nathan boasting about what happened on the phone to a friend, while on a bus full of people.
I bring this up to highlight a few things. First, it seems that people within the industry, even in the mid-2000s, knew what Russell Brand was up to. The same thing happened with Jimmy Saville – there are no end of sketch shows, books, stand up comics making reference to Saville long before the stories about him came out. Second, it’s the boast at the end – where Nathan is actually lying, he knows she was 18 but is saying she was 13 out of some insane notion of kudos. This is very much how Brand behaves, though to be fair he’s never been accused of having sex with a 13 year old.
The final point is that the documentary on Brand draws similarities between the account of one of the women, who says he orally raped her, and a sketch he did talking about liking blowjobs that ‘make the mascara run’. All I’ll say, without playing all the noises and clips and everything, is that if you compare the account of the young woman accusing him with that sketch, and with these scenes in Nathan Barley, the similarities are quite apparent. However, this program aired prior to the alleged assault, provoking an interesting paradoxical question.
One thing that struck me watching the documentary is that if this is somehow faked, then they did a very good job of incorporating details of Brand’s public behaviour and stand up routines into the accounts of the women making the accusations. Is it possible that several women all did this independently, going through old tapes and picking things out to help sell the story? Yes, but it’s highly unlikely. The flipside is that it isn’t very likely that a TV show would be able to predict an oral rape years before it happened.
So I am not sure exactly what we’re looking at here. It is perhaps worthy of note that Nathan Barley aired on Channel 4 – the same channel which broadcast Big Brother, and the Russell Brand documentary.