Tara Reade: Russell Brand rape allegations are the return of the MeToo political zombie
Recently, actor and comedian Russell Brand has used his celebrity status and his internet-based show to lift up independent-minded people like US presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. He questioned the US and NATO involvement in the proxy war against Russia in Ukraine, as well as the mainstream media narrative on Covid-19.
The establishment neoliberals were having none of it. They turned their laser-guided coordinated attacks on Brand, and now he is facing cancelation, MeToo style. He’s been accused of rape and abuse by several women, and as a result has lost his YouTube ad revenue, has had his live shows canceled, has been dropped by his publisher, and has had shows featuring him removed from the BBC’s video-on-demand service, among other things.
MeToo started out with a valiant goal, as a movement to empower women to speak out about sexual abuse where they had previously felt pressured into silence. All too quickly it got co-opted by political agendas, becoming a Democrat-backed hashtag used to attack and shut down those who disagree with the establishment narrative. It appears to have faded into relative obscurity since its roaring peak, and this zombie-like return of this style of cancelation comes off as both tiresome and disingenuous.
I should know for two reasons: I worked for Democrats, and I was raped by one. The Democrat I was raped by at work is now the president of the United States. There was no investigation into Joe Biden for what he did to me that day, but rather a coordinated attack on me across social media and establishment media alike that lasted years. It destroyed my professional and personal life. The MeToo movement was nowhere to be found for me because the founder of Time’s Up, the primary organization that supported the movement, was on Biden’s payroll. Truth never stood a chance. Even when I came close to testifying before Congress, the DNC machine went full throttle at me, and then there was the part where I had to seek asylum in another country to avoid prosecution or violence. Now, I never expected instant justice. But I never got the justice of even an investigation into him.
I know what it’s like to have the narrative be locked and loaded for your complete destruction, and now so does Russell Brand.
The facts on his alleged actions are murky and many of the accusers are anonymous. To date, no criminal charges, investigation, or civil cases have been filed. Just a blurry news program of innuendos latched onto by lap-dog Western media. The allegations against him were brought by Channel 4 Dispatches in a program called ‘Russell Brand: In Plain Sight’ and The Times. The allegations include rape and manipulation. As the news of the journalistic investigation spread, two shows dropped their episodes featuring Brand, and in only a few days, the trial by media had instigated his complete cancelation. Cases involving sexual misconduct, especially when they are about someone famous, are always a headline grabber.
That said, sexual assault and rape are difficult to publicly discuss. On a psychological level, rape is not about sex but power. On a legal level, the issue that swirls around any allegations of sexual assault is consent. Was there consent or not? It seems like a simple enough question, but when it comes to arguing legal definitions, it can get much more complicated, especially when you throw things like capacity to consent and withdrawal of consent into the mix. And then there’s the political level.
Rape is a highly politicized issue in the US and the West in general, and no one can politicize it better than the Democrats. When a woman comes forward, her reputation often gets attacked, be it by slut-shaming or through allegations of fishing for attention. The MeToo mantra ‘believe all women’, when co-opted by the Democrat political agenda, is applied very selectively, and it becomes very easy to dismiss a politically inconvenient accuser by destroying her reputation. The accusations themselves then become a tool to deplatform or silence chosen targets.
Now some on social media did show support for Brand. Apart from Brand’s fans, this included messages by figures like Elon Musk, Tucker Carlson, and Andrew Tate. In a world of echo chambers that is the Western social media environment, none of them is likely to change the mind of the opposite camp – members of which already regarded Brand as ‘controversial’ at best because of his anti-establishment views, and are now primed for an all-out attack on him.
If Russell Brand is innocent, he faces a long road to prove it – in a court of law, if it comes to that, but also in the court of public opinion. And in the latter case, Brand’s image may never fully recover.
The questions that need to be asked when discussing the allegations against Brand are their curious timing – his alleged misconduct dates back a decade, but came to light soon after he started speaking out against the establishment narrative on Ukraine – and how the same neoliberals Brand has always been critical of are now leading and boosting the charge against him.
All that said, if crimes were committed, they must be investigated and brought before a court – but the media, especially media with obvious political bias, is not for that. This kind of trial by media is never accurate and always harmful to the truth.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.