The fallout from the sexual assault allegations made against Russell Brand continues to spark public debate, as a British parliamentary committee questioned Rumble about the income the embattled comedian generates from his platform.
Brand was publicly accused of rape, sexual assault and emotional abuse by four women over a seven-year period. According to a joint study by The Sunday Times And The times and TV show broadcastsThe women said they were sexually abused between 2006 and 2013.
London’s Metropolitan Police then announced that it had received a report of an alleged sexual assault in the British capital in 2003. Brand has denied the allegations and in a statement on Friday on Rumble and “Always Consensual.” He stated that he rejects “these very serious criminal allegations” and suggested that “the mainstream media is conducting a coordinated attack” against him.
Newsweek Brand representatives emailed for comment.
As the fallout from the allegations continues, YouTube announced this week that it has suspended monetization of Brand on its platform to “protect” users. Brand, who has more than 6.6 million followers on the platform, can no longer make money from advertising revenue from his videos.
It has since emerged that Dame Caroline Dinenage, chair of the House of Commons media committee, told Rumble in a letter that she was “concerned”. [Brand] may benefit from his content on the platform,” particularly his video in which he addresses the allegations against him.
Similar letters were also sent to TikTok, Facebook’s parent company Meta and X (formerly Twitter). In the letters circulating on social media, concern appears to center on the possibility of Brand profiting from alleged crimes.
In one post on his X accountToronto-based video-sharing platform Rumble said the letter to its founder and CEO Chris Pavlovski was “extremely disturbing.”
“While Rumble obviously deplores sexual assault, rape and all serious crimes and believes that both the alleged victims and the accused are entitled to a full and serious investigation, it is important to note that the recent allegations against Russell Brand are unrelated have published content on Rumble’s platform,” part of the statement read.
After criticizing YouTube’s move to unmask Brand’s videos on the platform, Rumble said: “We believe it is deeply inappropriate and dangerous that the UK Parliament would seek to control who can speak on our platform or who can do so.” can earn a living.”
Rumble, which launched in 2013 and states on its website that its content creators are “immune to cancel culture,” added in its rebuttal that it would not “join a cancel culture mob.”
Early in his career, Brand was known for his left-leaning comedy that satirized the British political establishment. However, in recent years he seems to have taken more conservative viewpoints with his show Stay Free with Russell Brand Moving to Rumble in 2022.
His videos include titles like “Shhh… Don’t Mention The Vaccines” and the “Great Reset” theory, which suggests that the “elites” used the pandemic to take control of the globe.
While Canadian entrepreneur Pavlovski has called Rumble “neutral,” he has been joined by prominent conservatives Peter Thiel, a billionaire venture capitalist who invested in 2021, and former Fox News host Dan Bongino.
Beacon of monetary hope
At a time when several of the larger platforms have either suspended or demonetized a number of conservative influencers for their controversial content, Rumble is seen as something of a monetary beacon of hope for those with large followings who suddenly no longer have a streaming home.
“We need a place where conservative views are not discriminated against,” political commentator Bongino said via Take back the net back in 2020.
In the past, criticism and questions about Rumble rarely went beyond disgruntled social media users on other platforms. But big government questioning the platform’s treatment of a creator is seen by critics as a move to silence dissenting voices.
“Since when have Western political officials had the power to impose extra-legal punishments on people for alleged crimes of which they were never charged?” Journalist and author Glenn Greenwald wrote on X: “What gives US and British officials the right , to demand that technology companies remove it or? [demonetize] Speaker?”
While the outcry over the issue is loud and widespread, said Professor Charlie Beckett, founding director of think tank Polis in the Department of Media and Communications at the London School of Economics Newsweek Perception is drastically different from reality.
“It’s a legitimate request from the committee,” Beckett said. “It’s not about anyone being censored, it’s about whether you should make money from it.”
Beckett added that “there is no such thing as absolute freedom of expression and there is no right to make money from any kind of speech.” The committee does not have the power to censor or dictate an organization’s business policy, but it does have the right to ask questions.”
Rumble saw a boom in followers after former President Donald Trump failed in his bid to win a second term in the White House in 2020. This year, the number of monthly users increased from 2 million to over 20 million per year Forbes. According to Statista, the platform peaked at the end of 2022 with nearly 80 million users worldwide. In the second quarter of 2023, this number fell to 44 million.
Until the allegations against him became public, Brand had regularly posted new videos on the platform. It remains a source of income unaffected by the sexual assault allegations.
The organizers of Brand’s announced this on Monday Bipolarization standup tour that the remaining three shows have been postponed.
The fallout from the allegations also led to Brand’s collaboration with a British book publisher being suspended and a literary and talent agency cutting ties with him. A charity that supports women affected by abuse has also ended its association with Brand.
As news of the allegations against Brand spread, there were claims that the comedian had long had a questionable reputation behind the scenes. Others have spoken out in Brand’s defense.
Evan Nierman, founder and CEO of crisis communications company Red Banyan, pointed to the “speed and ferocity” with which public opinion of Brand as a “deplorable human being” was solidified.
“These are sweeping penalties imposed within hours of the explosive allegations coming to light, but it is important to remember that the allegations are, at this stage, completely unproven, Brand has not been charged or convicted of any crimes and he has taken immediate and forceful action to do so declared “innocent,” he said Newsweek.
Nierman, author of Crisis Averted: PR Strategies to Protect Your Reputation and Bottom Line And The Curse of Cancel Culture: From Rage to Redemption in a World Gone Mad added: “Brand’s experience is the latest example of how cancel culture is swift and merciless, completely destroying a person’s presumption of innocence and imposing severe sentences before the victim has received due process.”
Nierman acknowledged that the allegations against Brand were “horrific and the behavior described was completely repugnant,” and said it was “irresponsible and unfair to destroy Brand’s career and livelihood based on unproven allegations that provide no actual evidence of wrongdoing.” .”
“Cancel culture scenarios like this pose a threat not only to the reputations and careers of celebrities and public figures, but also to everyday citizens. “We all make mistakes, but when social media and the mainstream press make and spread salacious allegations that have not yet been proven as fact, it creates an impossible situation for the person under fire.”