Russell Brand has been attacked by a civil liberties campaigner for his “faux martyrdom” in a recent video.
It comes after the comedian broke his silence after a joint investigation was published containing allegations from four women of sexual assault and rape against him between 2006 and 2013.
Brand denied the claims before the allegations were published, saying his relationships were “always consensual”.
In his latest statement, Brand described the week following the bombshell investigations as “extraordinary and distressing”.
He claimed that the “British Government have asked big tech platforms to censor [his] online content” and that some “have complied”.
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The star suggested that this attempt at censorship is “in the context” of the Online Safety Bill, a Bill he argues grants the Government “sweeping surveillance and censorship powers”.
Civil rights campaigner Silkie Carlo spoke out against Brand’s claims by tweeting his video saying: “I will criticise censorship wherever it happens.
“But the Government did not try to censor Russell Brand’s channel; nor does this bear relation to the Online Safety Bill.
“Exploiting real censorship concerns for faux martyrdom is sad, desperate and frankly despicable stuff.”
Ms Carlo is a world expert on state censorship. From her work at Liberty and Big Brother Watch (BBW), she has spent her life defending civil liberties, freedom of speech and fighting censorship.
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Her organisation, BBW, led the campaign against the Online Safety Bill. Their website published concerns of campaigners who called it “a threat to human rights” and described it as the “greatest threat to UK free speech in living memory”.
In her post criticising Brand, she attempts to clarify claims of Government censorship Brand expresses. He is referring to a letter written by MP Dame Caroline Dinenage. Acting in her capacity as the chair of the Culture, Media and Sport Committee, Dame Caroline wrote to multiple digital media companies inquiring about Brand’s ability to monetise his content on their platforms.
This decision has been widely criticised as an attempt to use Government influence to pressure platforms to demonetise Brand.
Ms Carlo condemned Dame Caroline’s letter, calling it “outrageously unwise” and argued the Conservative MP “should immediately clarify she has zero censorship or demonetisation powers and regrets attempting to pressure the platforms”.
But she went on to expose Brand’s misleading claim that the “British Government” is censoring him. Dame Caroline contacted Rumble and other digital media platforms in her capacity as Chair of the Culture, Media and Sport Committee; her letter was not from the Government.
The Committee she chairs is not the Government. It is a committee set up to hold the Government to account. While it is majority Conservative, including Dame Caroline herself, it also has Labour and SNP members. Ms Carlo described Brand’s claim that this is Government censorship as “misrepresenting and exploiting” the issue.
She argued that Brand has used an “important political issue” of Government censorship and liberty-restricting legislation, like the Online Safety Bill, “for personal reasons”. While she credited him with raising the issue, she ultimately argued that he “serves only himself”.
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