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21 Sep, 2023 06:13

YouTube cuts Russell Brand’s ad revenue following rape allegations

The British comedian and political pundit has been accused of sexually abusing women
YouTube cuts Russell Brand’s ad revenue following rape allegations

YouTube has suspended advertising earnings for Russell Brand, saying his channels were demonetized in order to “protect” users after multiple women accused the UK entertainer of rape and sexual assault.

The video streaming giant issued a statement on Tuesday saying it had “suspended monetization” on Brand’s several channels, which together have amassed some 7 million followers, in the wake of the allegations.

“If a creator’s off-platform behavior harms our users, employees or ecosystem, we take action to protect the community,” a spokesperson for the platform said, adding that Brand had violated its “creator responsibility policy.”

The decision came after British media outlets published reports citing multiple women who claimed Brand had sexually assaulted or raped them between 2006 and 2013. He has vocally denied the charges, issuing a preemptive statement calling them “very serious allegations that I absolutely refute” and part of a “coordinated attack.”

“The relationships I had were absolutely always consensual,” Brand said. While he acknowledged that he was once “very promiscuous,” he said he has always been open about his past. He added: “To see that transparency metastasized into something criminal, which I absolutely deny, makes me question: is there another agenda at play?”

In addition to his demonetization on YouTube, the BBC later confirmed that it had removed “some” of Brand’s material from its podcasting services, claiming it fell “below public expectations.”

“There is limited content featuring Russell Brand on iPlayer and Sounds,” the state broadcaster said, adding “We’ve reviewed that content and made a considered decision to remove some of it.”

The sexual abuse accusations have prompted the UK government to reach out to TikTok, a major YouTube competitor on which Brand has some 2.3 million followers. In a letter to the platform’s director of government relations, Theo Bertram, Britain’s Culture, Media and Sport Committee asked whether Brand was still monetized on TikTok, suggesting he was using the streaming site to “undermine the welfare of victims.”

“While we recognize that TikTok is not the creator of the content published by Mr Brand,
and his content may be within the Community Guidelines set out by the platform, we are concerned that he may be able to profit from his content on the platform,” the committee said.

In a separate statement, the committee’s chair, Caroline Dinenage, added that she had contacted social media sites and news outlets in order “to understand the actions they are taking as we consider some of the issues around these allegations.”