Did Russell Brand know all this was coming? Fellow comics and experts claim the star spent four years ‘grooming’ online cult members ‘to support him when rape allegations become public’ – while the sex abuse investigation was still ongoing
Russell Brand was accused today of deliberately building an online cult to make him uncancelable and isolate the millions in revenue from his “wellness” and conspiracy theory videos.
The comedian, actor and wellness guru has added 5 million YouTube subscribers and seen his content more than 1 billion times since launching the Me Too movement in 2017, MailOnline can reveal.
Experts believe that by making five short videos a week he will have earned £1m a year from YouTube through advertising, without taking into account merchandising and sponsorship.
Today, the streaming giant cut off his revenue by stopping him from making money through his channel for “violating our Creator Responsibility Policy” – but he can still make movies for his legion of fans.
Critics, fellow comedians and pundits have accused Brand of “grooming” a “cult” online, claiming this was intentional because he knew he would be accused of abusing women.
Canadian feminist writer and social activist Naomi Klein tweeted: “Of course Russell Brand’s followers deny the allegations. He has primed an audience to deny/disbelieve everything they see and hear, which is very different from healthy skepticism.
“This knee-jerk denial is exactly why people with many skeletons in the closet love conspiracy culture: they have a built-in defense against liability. It’s always a conspiracy. I met Brand, been on his show (years ago). It took a tremendous amount of courage for these women to come forward. They already have my solidarity’.
Comedian Rosie Holt said, “I think the lesson is that kids, if rumors of sexual misconduct have been floating around about you for ages, create a cult on YouTube to support you when the allegations become public.”
The comedian has strongly denied allegations that he raped, sexually assaulted and emotionally abused multiple women. Pictured: Fire in a video released on social media denying the claims before they were released
Critics believe Brand’s online presence and choice of topics, including conspiracy theories, are a gimmick
Fans insist Brand is the victim of a conspiracy
An American writer tweeted: ‘Russell Brand has known since October 2017 that this day would come for him.
“Since then, he has strategically cultivated and nurtured a new mentally malleable cult that distrusts both women and the media so he can continue to get high on his other drug of choice: the spotlight.”
The comic has received online support from the likes of Andrew Tate and Elon Musk, and his fans attended a Wembley performance in droves on Saturday to show their support.
Far-right radio host Alex Jones, who owes $1.5 billion in damages to the families of the victims of the 2012 Sandy Hook school shooting, said: “The Matrix is coming after Russell Brand, anyone who challenges the globalists, anyone who opposes Big Pharma, anyone who is popular, who speaks out against the establishment… will be accused of assaulting women. Because he is now speaking out against the New World Order, the accusations suddenly come to him.”
Following allegations that he abused women, one fan said: “Somewhere along the way, Russell Brand woke up and became a powerful dissenting voice that no longer served their agenda. No wonder they’re desperate to destroy it.’
PR guru Mark Borkowski believes Brand has built a “cult following” online who may want to support him despite the “appalling” allegations about his treatment of women.
Another said: ‘I’m aware that you’ve been saying in the comments for some time now, be careful, Russell. They’re coming for you. You’re getting too close to the truth.’ A third said: ‘I’ve never seen women throwing themselves at someone like him (…) No one has ever accused him of assault. Now that he is speaking out against the New World Order, the accusations suddenly come upon him.” Then to be clear: ‘I support Russell Brand, he is completely innocent’.
The investigation by Channel 4, The Times and Sunday Times began four years ago. Around the same time, he stepped away from much of his TV and film work.
In that time, his YouTube subscribers have increased from about 1 million to 6 million. His total video views may have increased from around 100 million to over 1 billion since 2019.
His net worth is estimated at between £15 million and £40 million – with YouTube experts claiming he earns $61,000 a month from YouTube, plus possibly another $100k a month from merchandise and paid subscriptions to his podcast.
Russell Brand’s subscriptions and video views on YouTube have exploded since 2017
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He lives with his wife Laura Gallacher in their £3million riverside home in Henley, Oxfordshire.
PR experts have said this army of fans means it will never be canceled.
Mark Borkowski believes the comedian, who has been accused of rape, sexual assault and emotional abuse by multiple women, has declared war on the mainstream media.
He said: ‘The crimes he is accused of are appalling and damaging to him and to the people who cared for him at the time.’
The PR guru says something about it its fanbase will remain intact thanks to the ‘unfettered, unregulated world of social media’ – raising serious questions for the BBC and Channel 4.
Mr Borkowski said Brand has 11 million followers on Twitter alone, 6.6 million subscribers on YouTube and a hugely popular wellness podcast. These fans could choose to support him.
“He (Brand) has an audience and a lot of people who are engaged with his content.”
Russell Brand, pictured at the Troubadour Wembley Park Theater on Saturday evening, appears to be retaining much of his fanbase despite the allegations against him
He added that the comedian’s denial of the allegations was reminiscent of Donald Trump’s handling of allegations of inappropriate behavior.
Mr Borkowski said: “I think there will be a large number of people who will support him. Normally your career would be over with these kinds of accusations, but not in this case, which is interesting.
“He’s a great content generator. He didn’t reach the top of his profession because he’s mediocre. He has the power to enchant his audience.’
Brand, 48, was accused of assaulting four women between 2006 and 2013 when he worked as a presenter for BBC Radio 2 and Channel 4 and later as an actor in Hollywood. Other women have made a range of allegations of controlling, abusive and predatory behaviour.
Mr Borkowski said: ‘It raises questions against someone who has been given a certain amount of power because of his talent and his meteoric rise.
‘It calls into question Russell Brand, but also those on the board of television. There will be a lot of people looking at themselves this morning; the people in power today will not be the same ones who presided over this.”
Brand has since been dropped by a women’s charity he worked with, while TV production companies and channels have launched investigations into his alleged behaviour.
Mr Borkowski added: ‘The question is whether he will face police action, but the question at the moment is that of social media: the man will not get a fair trial if the police have enough evidence to prosecute him .
“Maybe more people will come forward, other people may see an opportunity. It is a very complex matter, mixed between old media and social media.’