- Russell Brand is still on Rumble which is still monetising his content online
A video platform has furiously defended making money out of Russell Brand’s content and letting him continue doing so – vowing it would carry on regardless.
The site, which is based in Canada, described a letter it had received from the chair of the Culture, Media and Sport Committee as ‘extremely disturbing’.
Dame Caroline Dinenage DBE MP had enquired whether Brand was still able to monetise content on Rumble and if that ability was going to be suspended or not.
She went on to ask what the platform would be doing to ensure that creators were not able to use the platform to ‘undermine the welfare of victims’.
But Rumble hit back in a statement that accused the CMS committee of attempting to control who can speak on its platform or earn money from it.
A spokesperson said: ‘We received an extremely disturbing letter from a committee chair in the UK Parliament. While Rumble obviously deplores sexual assault, rape and all serious crimes, and believes that both alleged victims and the accused are entitled to a full and serious investigation, it is vital to note that recent allegations against Russell Brand have nothing to do with content on Rumble’s platform.
‘Just yesterday YouTube announced that based solely on these media accusations it was barring Mr Brand from monetising his video content. Rumble stands for very different values. We have devoted ourselves to the vital cause of defending a free internet – meaning an internet where no one arbitrarily dictates which ideas can or cannot be heard, or which citizens may or may not be entitled to a platform.
‘We regard it as deeply inappropriate and dangerous that the UK Parliament would attempt to control who is allowed to speak on a platform or to earn a living from doing so. Singling out an individual and demanding his ban is even more disturbing given the absence or any connection between the allegations and his content on Rumble. We don’t agree with the behaviour of many Rumble creators, but we refuse to penalise them for actions that have nothing to do with out platform.
‘Although it may be politically and socially easier for Rumble to join a cancel culture mob, doing so would be a violation of our company’s values and mission. We emphatically reject the UK Parliament’s demands.’
Brand has been on the platform for two years already, and his first film of 1,367 on the site was entitled ‘Did Liberals use feminism to justify Afghan Cluster F***’.
His most recent one is the video refuting the claims against him, which were made on Channel 4’s Dispatches programme and in the Sunday Times.
When MailOnline viewed it today it featured an advert for GiveSendGo fundraising before the clip started. It is understood advertisers do not pick what programmes they appear on, they just pay to advertise generally.
Brand is currently at the centre of a storm over serious allegations of rape and sexual abuse made by four women, all of which he vehemently denies.
The Metropolitan Police is currently investigating an allegation. It said: “On Sunday September 17, the Met received a report of a sexual assault which was alleged to have taken place in Soho in central London in 2003.
‘Officers are in contact with the woman and will be providing her with support.’
The letter from the CMS committee read: ‘I am writing concerning the serious allegations regarding Russell Brand, in the context of his being a content provider on Rumble with more than 1.4 million followers.
‘The Culture, Media and Sport Committee is raising questions with the broadcasters and production companies who previously employed Mr Brand to examine both the culture of the industry in the past and whether that culture still prevails today. However, we are also looking at his use of social media, including on Rumble where he issued his pre-emptive response to the accusations made against him by The Sunday Times and Channel 4’s Dispatches.
‘While we recognise that Rumble is not the creator of the content published by Mr Brand, we are concerned that he may be able to profit from his content on the platform. We would be grateful if you could confirm whether Mr Brand is able to monetise his content, including his videos relating to the serious accusations against him. If so, we would like to know whether Rumble intends to join YouTube in suspending Mr Brand’s ability to earn money on the platform. We would also like to know what Rumble is doing to ensure that creators are not able to use the platform to undermine the welfare of victims of inappropriate and potentially illegal behaviour.’
With YouTube suspending Brand’s ability to make money from its site Rumble will now act as a precious income stream to him.
His posts potentially earn up to £80,000 each video.
Rumble was founded in 2013 by Chris Pavlovski and now positions itself as a platform for alternative voices.
When it started out it featured news stories as well as funny viral clips of animals.
But during the pandemic it became home to a number of different voices.
Both Andrew Tate and Rudy Giuliani joined the platform and Donald Trump’s son is also signed up to it.
Brand’s other videos include ‘They WANT War (And They’re Not Russian)’, ‘You’ve Been LIED To About Why Ukraine War Began’ and ‘They Planned It All Along’.
Other broadcasters and podcasts began stripping references to Brand from their own platforms after the reports at the weekend.
The BBC and Channel 4 have removed shows featuring the comedian, including episodes of QI and The Great Celebrity Bake Off.
During the baking show he made a biscuits in the shape of a vagina but did not win the culinary contest.
The BBC has also reported that Stephen Bartlett, a Dragons’ Den investor, has removed an episode of his Diary of a CEO podcast featuring Brand that was released earlier this year.
A description of the episode says Brand discusses ‘how his life has been defined by his addictions’ with the businessman.
BBC director-general Tim Davie said some of his content was ‘completely unacceptable’, and announced that Peter Johnston, director of editorial complaints, would be leading a review into Brand’s time at the corporation.
The probe will look at complaints against Brand, what BBC bosses knew, and what was done, the broadcaster said.
The review – which will provide an interim update ‘within weeks’ – will also examine the comedian’s use of a BBC car which one victim says he sent to pick her up from school and take her to his house when she was 16.
After announcing the BBC’s review today, Mr Davie was asked if the corporation had a culture of ‘letting people get away with bad behaviour’.
‘I do think we’re in a different place, over 15 years,’ he replied. ‘When I listened back, frankly, to some of those broadcasts [featured on the Dispatches investigation into Brand] I go, that is just completely unacceptable.
‘What led to that being on air? Now there are, you know, different times and all of that, but I just look at that stuff and I say there is no way I will listen to that, there’s no way I accept it.’
Speaking later at an internal all-staff session, the director-general told BBC workers that the corporation would look into ‘any complaints’ made about Brand’s conduct.
He added: ‘The review will also look at the position regarding any cars used by the BBC at that time.’
Mr Davie added that the BBC aimed to complete this work ‘as swiftly as possible’ saying he was hoping for an initial report in ‘weeks, not months’.
He said ‘the objective is to be totally transparent’ and to ‘just share what we have’.
When he was asked if he was aware of any allegations about Brand prior to the Sachsgate controversy which saw the comedian lose his job at the BBC, Mr Davie said: ‘I wasn’t aware of the serious allegations we’ve heard.’
Former Radio 6 Music presenter Liz Kershaw earlier this week said it was ‘about time’ the BBC was investigating how it handled Brand during his time there.