Russell Brand has urged his followers to support him financially after YouTube last week suspended advertising on his videos and as the Met Police announced a major update into criminal allegations against him.
Brand urged his supports to pay a subscription fee on Rumble, a video platform popular with right-wing streamers where he has 1.4m followers. On YouTube the 48-year-old has 6.6m.
The comedian made the appeal in the live stream just hours after the Met said it had opened an investigation into a “number of allegations of sexual offences” it had received against Brand in London as well as elsewhere in the country.
Brand has been accused of rape, assault and emotional abuse between 2006 and 2013, when he was at the height of his fame and working for the BBC, Channel 4 and starring in Hollywood films. The allegations came in a joint investigation by The Times, Sunday Times and Channel 4’s Dispatches. He denies any criminal wrongdoing.
YouTube said Brand had violated the platform’s policies.
Sara McCorquodale, author and chief executive of social media analysis agency CORQ, estimated Brand made about £2,000 to £4,000 per YouTube video, the BBC reported last week.
In a video on Rumble on Monday Brand urged his followers to subscribe to his channel. It costs $60 (£49) a year.
Brand joined Rumble in September 2022, after receiving repeated warnings from YouTube over covid-related videos.
“You now know that I have been demonetised on YouTube… fully well aware that the government wrote to social media platforms to demand that I be further censored,” Brand said in his announcement in an apparent reference to a letter written not by the government, but the chair of a parliamentary committee, The Independent noted.
Dame Caroline Dinenage asked if Rumble will follow YouTube’s example and cut Brand off from advertising revenues, something the platform rejected with its chief executive, Chris Pavlovski, saying: “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.”
In his livestream, titled ‘Are we being silenced? The battle for free speech, Brand slammed legacy media and spoke about how the recent allegations had “affected him”.
Brand said: “The global media war against free speech is in full swing, how do I know? Take a guess.”
He went on to speak about the “collusion between big tech and government and an apparent concerted effort by legacy media and now the state and big tech to silence independent media voices.”
Brand acknowledged it was “difficult for me to be entirely objective given the events of the past week” but was attempting to do so.
During the show, he read out a report from far-left website GrayZone that suggested YouTube’s censorship of Brand was “driven by direct British government decree”. A number of large companies, such as Burger King, Asos, the Barbican and HelloFresh, have pulled their advertisements from Rumble in the wake of allegations against Brand, The News Movement reported.