IT is impossible to be more impartial about a man than I am about Russell Brand. That’s because the hyperactive and garrulous comedian-cum-commentator with a Big Ben ego and a Janis Joplin wardrobe is as far from my cup of cocoa as it’s possible to be. Disinterestedly, I note the following as matters of fact. Brand, 48, is at least as intelligent as two-thirds or more of Britain’s MPs. He is extremely articulate – something genuinely impressive in an era whose people speak in tweets. He is an enterprising hustler who created a fresh niche for himself as a podcaster at just the right time. His questioning of nazi orthodoxies and fake statistics during the ‘pandemic’ has aged exceedingly well. The extent to which this alone infuriates the UK’s increasingly state-nudged media should not be underestimated. On the other hand, Brand is narcissistic, insufferably smug and philosophically erratic. By his own admission, he was sexually exploitative and drug-fuelled throughout his 20s. In his defence, that isn’t exactly unusual. Ted Kennedy was a drunk well into his senior years and the media forgave him for letting a woman drown in an Oldsmobile.
Brand’s social media accounts, podcasting rights, public appearances and ability to make any kind of living are now being cancelled one after the other. We’ve seen it all before – in too many secular excommunications to remember. No corporation, lobby or broadcaster wants to be the last loyalist standing. Same thing as being the first one to stop clapping Stalin, when you think about it, except in reverse. In the contemporary West – where the forgiveness of sins (remissionem peccatorum) is at least as obsolete as the other 11 mainstays of the Apostles’ Creed – if you’re the last one cheering (or even cheering up) an un-person, you’ll get what he got. The Times’ role in the campaign against Brand makes sense. His opposition to the US proxy war in Ukraine would enrage a spook-biddable newspaper that last year reported the brave exploits of the Ghost of Kiev (and the auctioning of his “goggles” following an imaginary demise) as facts.
Well, did Brand sexually groom a 16 year-old, rape someone else and ‘emotionally abuse’ another? Binning the third count, I’m supposed to say we should leave the first two (and others that may be in the offing) to the Old Bill. Except the Old Bill is a corrupt idiot. Remember Operation Midland? How about Operation Tethering? No, contrary to the gaslighting of feminists, the pressing reform needed in these cases isn’t institutionalised believing of all women but the militant recapitulation of the presumption of innocence. Only that will shield both police brass and prosecutors from the mob to ensure real victims are championed and only real villains tried. Chancers in the media and the sisterhood who pursue celebrity sex lynchings for clicks and vengeance are the most dangerous and defiant misogynists of all. The more often their vigilantism fails, the more they damage women and the more they pervert justice to even the score. These addicted sociopaths should be called out for they are. Alas, reform cannot help either Brand or his accusers at this stage. If he ends up being convicted of something, well and good. But that possibility doesn’t make the global punishment of a legally innocent man acceptable. Not even if he’s annoying.