Before the allegations, Russell Brand made sure he could never be cancelled.

This story includes descriptions of sexual assault that may be distressing to some readers.

Russell Brand doesn't want you to trust the mainstream media.

Which is convenient, because the mainstream media just published a lengthy investigation into his actions from 2006 through 2013, involving one rape allegation and three sexual assault allegations from four women.

Brand, 48, has had many lives: the comedian first rose to prominence as a presenter on MTV and then moved into movies like 2008's Forgetting Sarah Marshall and 2010's Get Him to The Greek, became an author and a speaker passionate about reforming drug policy, mental health awareness and spiritual wellbeing.

His most recent shift was towards 'freedom thinking' on platforms like YouTube, where he pondered 'the truth' and fostered a community based on distrust of the world – and especially the media – as we know it.

Over the weekend, three British news outlets reported accusations of rape, sexual assault and abuse against Brand from four different women – an investigation that The Sunday Times news editor Becky Barrow stated on X (previously Twitter) began in 2019.

Brand denied the allegations, saying all of his relationships have been consensual, and posting a video online denying the then-undisclosed allegations from a "mainstream media" television company and a newspaper.

"Amidst this litany of astonishing, rather baroque attacks are some very serious allegations that I absolutely refute," he said.


"These allegations pertain to the time when I was working in the mainstream, when I was in the newspapers all the time, when I was in the movies and, as I have written about extensively in my books, I was very, very promiscuous.

"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."

It's clear that Brand has established himself a very convenient defence: 'they're out to get him'.

Who 'they' are exactly, no one seems to say outright. But it's a word present all over his YouTube comments and social media, posited by supporters as the reason for this downfall.

Throughout the COVID years, he morphed into one of the most famous 'skeptics', criticising vaccines and COVID policy via his ever-growing YouTube channel, alongside other conspiracies involving people like Bill Gates and... aliens.

Which, of course, comes with the paranoia of being one of 'their' targets.

For years, Brand has cultivated a base of supporters who not only do not believe allegations like these but also actively see it as an attack on them and a re-enforcement of their worldview: that a shadowy group of powerful people is trying to hide the 'truths' that only they know.


"It was just a matter of time Russell, you have been exposing them and they hate it," one of the top comments on his YouTube video reads.

"This was inevitable Russ. They were always going to come for you," says another.

His chosen path made him less susceptible to the career and financial consequences that other people facing serious allegations might (even if they too are only impacted for a short while – looking at you, Louis C.K.).

For years now, Brand has been making his money away from the mainstream via his podcast and YouTube, as well as online courses and a subscription service for "awakened wonders".

Those who feel lucky enough to be awakened are not going to abandon him now. In fact, many see it as a sign he is on the right track.

Legal consequences are obviously the next step, but we know that is no easy feat.

Until then, it will be interesting to see whether Brand doubles down or goes quiet for a while. Either way, there remains an army of YouTube commenters cheering him on. And that might just make him impossible to cancel.

If this has raised any issues for you, or if you just feel like you need to speak to someone, please call 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732) – the national sexual assault, domestic and family violence counselling service.

Feature image: YouTube.

– With AAP.

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