Discover more from Iain Davis Substack
Dispatching Russell Brand: Hypocrisy in Plain Sight
Serious allegations of rape, sexual assault and misconduct have been levelled by the Legacy Media (LM) against the comedian, actor, author and political commentator Russell Brand. If there is sufficient cause, the evidence should be investigated by the police with a view toward possible criminal prosecution of Brand.
Channel 4's Dispatches broadcast their "documentary" about the findings of a joint investigation they conducted with the Times and the Sunday Times newspapers. With regard to the accusations made against Brand, the Metropolitan Police reportedly issued the following statement:
Iain Davis Substack is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.
We are aware of media reporting of a series of allegations of sexual assault. We have not received any reports in relation to this. If anyone believes they have been the victim of a sexual assault, no matter how long ago, we would encourage them to contact police.
The police cannot proceed with an investigation if no one has reported a crime, hence the request. Perhaps the four women who have made the allegations will now do so.
Absent an official investigation, all we have are unverified stories based upon the accounts of Brand's accusers. Without further evidence the allegations remain largely anecdotal.
The women's testimonies should be taken seriously and their anecdotal nature only emphasises the need to investigate the evidence if and when crimes are reported. If there is any truth to the allegations Brand should be arrested as soon as possible for reasons of public safety.
Those who assume Brand is guilty, without a full investigation of the evidence, presumably support the notion of trial by media.
Dispatches' Reported Allegations
The Dispatches documentary used ominous incidental music throughout to subliminally suggest Brand's guilt to its audience. It immediately informed its viewers that the identities of the four women making the allegations were hidden. Their names had been changed and their words were voiced by actresses.
To be clear: we only have LM claims that these women and their allegations exist. In all likelihood they do, and protecting their anonymity is a reasonable precaution. But we should not simply overlook the fact that no one knows who they are or the precise nature of their allegations. We have to take the LM's word for it. The four women were given the pseudonyms of Nadia, Alice, Rachel and Phoebe by the LM investigative team.
Nadia reportedly alleged that she was raped by Brand in 2012. She stated that she had gone to his apartment and that Brand was nude and greeted her with kisses, which she described as "kind of fun." She claimed that he later held her by the throat and raped her against a wall.
Dispatches offered supposedly retrieved text messages as evidence to corroborate this story. One from Brand at 3.29 am apologised to Nadia saying "I hope you can forgive me." At 10.59 am Nadia reportedly replied by text.
The full content of Nadia's text was blurred out before the Dispatches audience had chance to read it. The remaining highlighted text was clearly intended to suggest that Brand's reported 3.29 am tweet was effectively an admission of rape.
Dispatches emphasised the allegation that Brand can be scary and focused on the following line from Nadia's texted reply:
When a girl says no it means no.
Yet Nadia's full text made no mention of either rape or sexual assault. The text conversation appeared to be about the use of a condom. Brand was apparently apologising for not wearing a condom despite Nadia's presumed insistence that he did.
Moreover, Nadia stated in her text that she had made a bad decision, indicating that she had consented in some manner to unprotected sex against her better judgement. Nadia noted Brand's "reputation" and “safe” sex appeared to be her primary concern and point of contention with Brand.
A legal precedent has been set that unprotected sex by deception—when one partner has insisted upon use of a condom—can be deemed rape. But the texts shown by Dispatches are ambiguous and it isn't clear if Nadia acquiesced to pressure from Brand, which is bad enough, or if Brand forced unprotected sex upon her by deception, which would potentially constitute rape.
Dispatches then showed another blurred out report from a rape treatment centre that Nadia had visited. She apparently reported the incident and was provided emergency contraception and antibiotics. The central allegation of rape was again asserted by Dispatches through the use of highlighted text in the otherwise blurred out report.
There was no mention of "rape" or the use of force in the highlighted text. The issue appeared to be "ejaculation" which seemingly related to the use of a condom. Nadia stated that she did not report the allegation to the police and was only able to articulate that she had been raped following a number of sessions with her therapist.
Despite Dispatches' insinuation, neither the text exchange nor the report appeared to evidence Nadia's claim that Brand had pinned her against a wall and raped her. There was no mention of this in either of the shown documents and both were heavily redacted.
None of us know how we would respond should we be the victim of such a terrible crime, but anger about the use, or not, of a condom, without any clear evidence relating to, or even mention of, consent to sexual intercourse doesn't corroborate a rape allegation.
This segment of the Dispatches documentary clearly indicates some degree of manipulation on the part of the filmmakers. This may be the result of a poor editorial decision by documentarists who simply wanted to ensure that the allegations were taken seriously. Unfortunately, the apparent deceit undermines rather than supports the women's accusations.
Alice said she was a 16 years old old and Brand was in his early 30's when they had consensual sex. She admitted she had a "relationship" with Brand. Alice stated that Brand had forced her to perform oral sex on him. She then added that she had punched him in the stomach and Brand stopped. Alice thereby indicated that Brand stopped when she made her refusal clear. This, in part, contradicted her claim that Brand had forced her into a sexual act.
Some years later Alice made allegations to Brand's agent that he had sexually assaulted her and received a response from Brand's lawyers. A legal reaction you might expect. Alice has never reported these allegations to the police.
It seems that none of the women, who now accuse Brand, reported anything to the police at the time. They have all found the courage to speak out some years later as a result of an investigation orchestrated by the LM. The Dispatches production team made it clear that none of the women have been paid for their accounts.
In regard to Alice, there are questions about the age of consent. The age difference between Brand and Alice at least suggests the possibility of an exploitative relationship. But, beyond Alice's allegations, there was no clear evidence of any crime. Alice also reported apparent tenderness. She told how Brand held her hand as he and a friend gave her a lift home. Alice said that she interpreted this as controlling behaviour from Brand, which made her feel like a child.
This segment in Dispatches "investigation" strongly insinuated that Brand is a paedophile—or hebephile at the very least—who was grooming a child. Yet, Dispatches acknowledged that Alice was at the age of consent when she and Brand began their relationship.
There are moral questions that can be asked about Brand's reported behaviour, but nothing to supports any suggestion that he is a paedophile. It is not unreasonable to question why the editorial decision was taken to embellish the narrative with demonstrably false insinuations. These unnecessary tangents did nothing to enhance the credibility of the women's allegations.
Dispatches next reported the behaviour of Brand when he was a Big Brother presenter for Channel 4 two decades ago. Rachel was junior assistant on the show at the time. She was a "runner" who was tasked with passing messages between the Big Brother production team.
Rachel stated that she had a close friendship with Brand that developed into a sexual relationship. She claimed he indecently exposed himself to her but that she had subsequently embarked on the relationship with him. If he did indecently expose himself then obviously this is a serious accusation. Rachel said Brand made her feel special.
While the relationship was consensual, Rachel said that she felt she was "groomed for sex." Although it appears Rachel was over eighteen at the time. Again it seems that Brand's moral conduct is in question, without any clear evidence of a crime.
Rachel's age at the time of the relationship is an assumption based upon the statements of Brand's former personal assistant--Rachel's age was not reported by Dispatches. Helen Berger said that between 2005 and 2007 all the women Brand had liaisons with, presumably including Rachel, were, to Berger's knowledge, over eighteen. Berger reported that she neither witnessed nor suspected any sexual misconduct. In her opinion, Brand was a promiscuous narcissist but she added:
I never once thought that he was somebody who would rape anybody, assault anybody.
Again the suggestion was made by Dispatches that Brand is potentially a dangerous predator of underage girls without offering any evidence to support this claim. In fact, the reported statements of witnesses directly contradicted that assertion. Rachel apparently kept a block of wood with Brand's hand written message on it. Seemingly as a memento of their relationship. This was not evidence of sexual assault and was seemingly incongruous with her own allegations.
Pheobe met Brand at an AA meeting in 2013. She also said she had slept with Brand willingly but then alleged she was manipulated. Pheobe reported that Brand offered her a job and, while their relationship had ended, they remained friends. She added that Brand's ongoing promiscuity had hurt her feelings.
Phoebe claimed that Brand subsequently attempted to sexually assault her. She reported that his eyes went completely black during the alleged assault, like the mythical demons portrayed in fantasy movies. Phoebe said she told Brand that she did not welcome his advances and had to fight him off before he stopped. The alleged crime was possibly attempted sexual assault, but Phoebe's statement also introduced ambiguities.
Phoebe reported that Brand's representatives had discussed the possible legal ramifications with her when it reportedly came to their attention that Phoebe was talking to others about the alleged sexual assault. Phoebe said she couldn't really remember those conversations at all and concluded by saying "I'm at peace with it."
Dispatches also reported that Brand's former girlfriend Jordan Martin published a book in which she alleged that Brand was controlling and manipulative. In the book, Martin also alleged that Brand sexually assaulted her. A decade later Jordan Martin declined the offer to participate in the joint LM investigation.
The fact that Brand’s four main accusers were all in relationships with Brand does not suggest that the rapes and sexual assaults did not occur. Nor does the fact that the women did not report the alleged crimes at the time. A high proportion of sexual violence occurs within relationships and estimates of reporting rates are consistently low.
All of the women's statements should be taken seriously by default. While the evidence appears to be, at best, contradictory, that does not signify that the allegations are baseless. As we've already discussed, if a crime is reported, the police should investigate the evidence surrounding these serious accusations.
That said, Brand is innocent until proven guilty.
The Difference Between Morality And A Crime
While working on big brother, Brand asked staff to approach audience members he later had sex with. He also focused his attention on a junior colleagues. Yet the show catapulted him into the mainstream.
It is not immediately clear what point, other than innuendo, Dispatches were trying to make here. If Brand invited women to his room, who then chose to have consensual sex with him, why should that be an impediment to his career?
Of course, the inference is that this wasn't always consensual. But "allegation" appears to be the full extent of the evidence presented in the LM's joint investigation. Dispatches certainly didn't present any corroborating evidence beyond accusation and the evidence it did present tended to contradict the allegations.
There is nothing to admire about Brand's apparent conduct. He did not treat women well during his years of, what appears to have been, extreme promiscuity. He clearly treated female colleagues with disrespect on numerous occasions.
For example, Dispatches highlighted the on-air conversation Brand had with the necrophiliac, paedophile pimp Jimmy Savile. It seems, like everyone else who worked for the BBC, Brand presumably didn't know about Savile's crimes at the time. Nonetheless, Brand's "joke" that he would send his assistant to Savile naked, showed a deplorable lack of respect for his female colleague.
Dispatches also reported that one of the Big Brother runners said:
He [Brand] was able to take advantage of who he was.
We all take advantage of who we are. We don't have anything else from which to gain advantage.
In Brand's case he was first a national and then an international superstar with a sex addiction. It seems likely that he did exploit 'who he was' to have as much sex as possible. There are many questions about his morality. But these should be left to those who consider themselves moral judges.
Whether we find his behaviour acceptable or not, there is a big difference between unbridled, consensual promiscuity and sexual crimes. As another former runner pointed out in the Dispatches documentary:
Looking on the face of it, it's like, Russell having sex with women over 18, seemingly consenting. So, what's the big deal in that? The thing that is not OK, it's this atmosphere of women being dispensable, women being used for sex, that you can pick them up at work, like out of a menu. They're all really harmful attitudes and it creates an environment of permission, which can then snowball into things that are more serious.
This "atmosphere," and his celebrity status, probably did enable Brand’s promiscuity to an extent. But Brand was not solely responsible for cultivating it.
There are societal issues that need to be addressed. Most pointedly, by women empowered to address them. Women must have agency in all matters as undoubtedly many did in choosing whether or not to sleep with Russell Brand.
Dispatches reported the opinions of one woman within the LM who did have the power to address this seemingly deleterious culture. Lorraine Heggessey, former BBC executive and BBC One controller (2000 - 2005), ventured:
Somebody should have said [to Brand] it is not acceptable to continually have these jokes about sex, jokes about women. You can see a very clear pattern of unacceptable behaviour, that consistently undermines women and that leads to sexual exploitation of them.
[. . .] actual or attempted abuse of someone's position of vulnerability [. . .], differential power or trust, to obtain sexual favours, including but not only, by offering money or other social, economic or political advantages.
There was undoubtedly a power differential between Brand and many of the women he slept with. In fact, there was a power differential between Brand and 99% of population. But contrary to Heggessey's opinion, this does not inevitably lead to "sexual exploitation."
The morality of his actions, according to the UN, becomes questionable if he abused that power differential, or position of trust, to exploit vulnerable women. If he did, while this is a moral not a criminal concern, this also raises questions about why those women were, or perceived themselves to be, vulnerable. This is not the same as women who didn't consider themselves vulnerable being attracted to Brand. Regardless of the power differential or any trust issues between them.
Brand's bawdy, iconoclastic and often political humour is, like many comedian's, exploitative. He exploits drug addicts, alcoholics, politicians, straight men, gay men, gay and straight women and himself. In fact there really isn't anything or anyone he doesn't exploit for comedic purposes. He has frequently been admonished, and his career stymied, as a result of the offence he has caused. He is also an extremely popular and famous comedian.
So perhaps there is, as Heggessey suggests, a "moral" case to censor his, and all other comedian's and commentator's, "exploitative" comedy and statements. This is what the (UN) believes, an opinion that Heggessey apparently shares.
In its recent "Say No to Hate" campaign the UN claimed:
Hate speech can look like a joke, a tradition, a common saying, or a popular opinion but it's time we take a closer look. It's time to unlearn hate. It's time to learn about respect, dignity, justice and human rights. It's time to say #NoToHate.
The UN's "No to Hate" strategy will deploy a global public-private partnership—incorporating governments and big tech corporations—to gather as much data as possible from our internet activity in order to "reframe" our opinions using "strategic communication"—propaganda. The public-private partnership will then take "measures" to ensure that no jokes, common speech, expressed opinions or cultural traditions fall outside the UN's prescribed "hate speech" parameters.
This kind of anti-democratic, authoritarian oppression is a topic that Brand has been exploring for years, both in his comedy and his commentary. Latterly, he has become even more forthright, accusing governments of misleading the public about the pandemic—the pseudopandemic.
Given what appears to be a partially contrived attack upon him by the entire LM, it is worth considering if there are any political motivations behind it. This is not, in any way, to downplay the seriousness of the allegations or the urgent need to investigate any possible crimes.
A Politically Motivated Attack?
The eventual joint investigation, between the Times, the Sunday Times, and Channel 4 "Dispatches," began in 2019 when Sunday Times reporter Rosamund Urwin, the Sunday Times' media editor, was made aware of the allegations. Claiming that they spoke to hundreds of people, including Brand's family, friends and associates, the LM investigative team eventually found three women who were encouraged by them to make public statements. The fourth [Alice], supposedly contacted the team after she heard about its investigation.
The LM thrives on lurid stories and those involving international celebrities are the most widely reported. While Dispatches aired Heggessey's views about a so-called "exploitative" culture—that Brand allegedly abused—Dispatches said nothing about the LM's hand in creating it.
For decades, the LM couldn't do enough to publicise Brand's sexual exploits. Brand has often quipped about the three consecutive years the LM promoted him as "shagger of the year." The LM's hypocrisy, and its selective blind-spots, are nauseating.
Russell Brand has strongly denied the women's purported allegations, telling his 1.4 million followers on Rumble and his 6.6 million YouTube subscribers that there is a "coordinated media attack" against him. It is a fact that the story emerged in nearly all of the tabloid and broadsheet LM outlets, and via LM broadcasts, simultaneously on both sides of the Atlantic. It is hard to see how this wasn't coordinated.
The Telegraph, the Guardian, the Times, the Sun, the Mirror, the Evening Standard, the Daily Mail, the Daily Record, the Independent, the Washington Post, HollywoodReporter, NPR, ABC, CNN, the HuffPost, the Insider, Sky, Channel 4, ITV, and the BBC—among many others—all reported the same allegations simultaneously. Obviously, for the wider LM, this is supposed to be a very big story. Whether it is "coordinated" or not, there is undoubtedly blanket LM coverage.
Many of the same LM outlets have railed against what they call disinformation, hate speech and conspiracy theories. In doing so they merely repeat the messaging of the UN, its corporate partners and its member state governments, who all claim these to be modern, societal scourges. Despite there being no evidence to support those assertions.
The LM is in deep trouble. LM products like Newsnight, the BBC's flagship news and current affairs programme, struggle to reach audiences of 400,000. As the primary outlets for UN, government and corporate "strategic communications," all of which seeks to control public opinion, rapidly dwindling public interest in LM news coverage presents a significant problem for state propagandists. A story such as the Brand allegations draws attention to the LM.
As Dispatches stated, Brand has gathered more than 28 million social media followers. Dispatches fell back on the conspiracy theorist labelling system in an additional attempt to discredit Brand, adding that he "discusses conspiracy theories and often takes aim at the mainstream media."
Brand has the kind of reach that individual LM outlets can only dream of. It is only by working together that they can even hope to challenge him. Not only is his audience enormous, his anti-Establishment views resonate with millions and his follower numbers are growing.
What is perhaps worse for the Establishment is that Brand is using his platform to bring new voices from the independent media to wider public attention. Genuine investigative journalists, such as Whitney Webb, have now been introduced to potentially 28 million people.
There are many reasons why we might suspect Brand was on to something when he said:
[. . .] Is there another agenda at play? [. . .] I'm aware that you guys have been saying in the comments for a while "watch out Russell! They're coming for you. You're getting close to the truth [. . .]." It's been clear to me. or at least it feels to me, like there's a serious and concerted agenda to control these kind of spaces [online platforms and social media] and these kind of voices, and I mean my voice along with your [his followers] voice. [. . .] I feel like I'm being attacked and plainly they are working very closely together.
To a great extent the LM only has itself to blame for Brand's popularity. They have consistently provided a platform for him to speak and now he has outgrown them. His opinions have always been antagonistic towards the status quo and are evidently rooted in traditional socialist values. The notion promoted by some LM columnists that he now extols the views of the "far right" are patently idiotic.
In 2013, in an interview with Jeremy Paxman for BBC Newsnight, Paxman put it to Brand that his refusal to vote meant that he had "no authority" to talk about politics, to which Brand replied:
Well, I don't get my authority from this pre-existing paradigm which is quite narrow and only serves a few people [. . .]. It's not that I'm not voting out of apathy, I'm not voting out of absolute indifference and weariness and exhaustion from the lies, treachery, deceit of the political class that has been going on for generations now, and which has now reached a fever pitch, where we have a disenfranchised, disillusioned, despondent underclass that are not being represented by that political system. So voting is tacit complicity with that system and that's not something I'm offering up.
A year later Newsnight's Evan Davis also interviewed Brand, allowing him to expand on some of his ideas:
My point wasn't "don't vote, become apathetic, do nothing" - my point was become engaged in procedures that will have an impact - creative direct action [. . .]. This is a new kind of political movement and precisely the kind of political movement that we want to encourage [. . .]. Where people are disillusioned with traditional conventional politics, that doesn't represent us, the ordinary people, [it] might be fun for those of us that work in media to chat about—or people with columns, or people with loads of money and big corporations—but for ordinary British people, they don't feel that they're being represented. [. . .] The apparatus for ordinary people to be engaged politically simply doesn't exist and that's what came up in the last interview with your predecessor Jeremy [. . .]. I took great inspiration from the focus e15 mums who were turfed out of their homes by a Newham council, [who] were indifferent to their plight, and organized themselves creatively and opposed that. And through that action they won 40 council homes for homeless people in the borough.
It seems pretty obvious why the Establishment may have an axe to grind with Brand. It is true that he is a political monster largely of their own creation, and this has led many to suspect that he is part of controlled opposition. Commonly referred to as a political "shill."
But the 'controlled shill' argument presupposes that "the shill" is useful to the Establishment in some way. It is hard to see how Brand's interviews and public statements possibly serve the Establishment's interests. For example, speaking in March 2023 on the popular US panel discussion, Real Time with Bill Maher, just a few months prior to the allegations emerging, Brand said:
The pandemic created at least 40 new far big Pharma billionaires. Pharmaceutical corporations like Moderna and Pfizer made a thousand dollars of profit every second from the Covid-19 vaccine. More than two-thirds of Congress received campaign funding from pharmaceutical companies in the 2020 election. Pfizer chairman Albert Bourla told Time magazine, in July 2020, that his company was developing a Covid vaccine for the good of humanity, not for money. And, of course, Pfizer made a hundred billion dollars in profit in 2022. [. . .] May I just mention it finally, and this is also a fact, that you, the American public, funded the development, [. . .] the German public funded the BioNTech vaccine. When it came to the profits they took the profits, when it came to the funding you paid for the funding. [. . .] If you have an economic system in which pharmaceutical companies benefit hugely from medical emergencies, where military industrial complex benefits from war, where an energy companies benefit from energy crises you are going to generate states of perpetual crisis. Where the interests of ordinary people separate from the interests of the elite.
The most pressing concern is the welfare of any and all women who may have been sexually assaulted or raped by Russell Brand. It is essential that the evidence is investigated and, if there is evidence of criminal conduct, Brand should be prosecuted.
There is no contradiction to also state that we should wholeheartedly reject any suggestion that trial by media is even remotely credible. It has already been said, but it is worth reiterating, that Russell Brand is currently innocent and will remain so until proven otherwise in a court of law.
The LM should be free to investigate and report allegations of this nature, but, due to their lack of legal authority, they cannot possibly secure access to all the required evidence. As a body, they are not objective and frequently serve an Establishment agenda.
Those who presently assume Brand is guilty are not basing their opinion on evidence. They are simply “trusting” whatever the LM tells them.
Based upon what has been reported by the LM, there is very little to substantiate the allegations made against Brand. However, there is evidence of a political agenda at least playing a part in the reporting of the allegations.
If they can make the story stick, or if he is subsequently found guilty, the same LM who built him up, who then seemingly tried to take him down when he became inconvenient, will use Brand as an example to discredit the opinions of the millions who largely agree with his political views. They have already started that process.
Articles like “From Covid denial to mainstream media hatred – Inside Russell Brand’s conspiracy-fuelled cult online following” published by the Metro, attempt to make an illogical association between Brand—the personality—his stated views and the allegations. Dismissing the opinions of the millions who agree with his anti-Establishment opinions as a “cult” mindset led by a questionable character—Brand.
For some seemingly inexplicable reason, the UK Government has expressed its opinion, stating that “these are very serious and concerning allegations.” These concerns do not appear to be for the women who may have been raped.
Instead, it certainly looks like the UK state is trying to use the allegations to strengthen its influence and control over the internet and social media and any political opinions expressed online. The UK government’s cross-bench Culture, Media and Sports Committee (DCMS) has decided that an LM story, absent any criminal investigation at all, is sufficient to warrant Brand’s effective removal from social media.
The DCMS was instrumental in the design of the government’s Online Safety Act, which is censorship legislation intended to control online political opinion. The Act has recently passed all parliamentary reading stages, and is set for imminent enactment. The Brand story coincides precisely with the introduction of internet censorship by the UK state.
Brand’s political views, and those of the millions who share them, have absolutely nothing to do with his sexual conduct. But neither logic nor evidence are any impediment for the state or its LM propagandists.