**Content Warning** this post contains mentions of sexual assault and abuse
By Socialist Feminist Alternative
A four-year investigation by the Sunday Times, The Times and eventually joined by Channel 4, came to light over the last few days. Four women have come forward and exposed a series of horrifying allegations of sexual assault, rape and abuse against comedian Russell Brand, with another complaint made following these revelations. Particularly horrifying was the story of ‘Alice’, who explained how she was groomed into an abusive and violent relationship with Brand while she was still at school. Socialist Feminist Alternative stands in solidarity with all survivors of abuse and everyone that has been impacted by these revelations.
Brand is no ‘anti-establishment’ figure
Brand manipulatively tries to exploit an anti-establishment sentiment and suspicion towards the mainstream media, claiming these allegations are a conspiracy against him as he is “getting too close to the truth”. Unsurprisingly, he has received support from misogynist Andrew Tate, billionaire Elon Musk and right-wing conspiracist GB News presenter Beverley Turner, who called him “a hero”.
Far from being anti-establishment, these reactionaries are part of the same right-wing backlash against the global feminist movement as the capitalist mainstream Tory policies like banning gender neutral toilets and attempting to force teachers to out trans and non-binary students. This support comes despite the allegations being backed by evidence, such as medical records following the alleged assaults, text messages and other supporting evidence.
This is the tip of the iceberg – now an independent inquiry is needed!
These cases represent only the tip of the iceberg of a misogynistic culture in the entertainment and media industries as well as capitalist society more generally, where rich and powerful figures like Brand abuse their power and wealth in an attempt to silence survivors.
Brand himself in one of his memoirs, once wrote: “What kind of man am I treating women in this way? If this is what I’m telling you, imagine what has been left out”. Clips of Brand making jokes about rape and choking women; demeaning and sexually harassing women staff on BBC radio; stories of women colleagues and comedians in shows he worked in warned not to stay alone in a room with him – all give a glimpse of the extent to which his sexist and abusive behaviour was well known in the industry but not acted upon by his employers.
As we could also see with the revelations about sex criminal Jimmy Savile ten years ago, these big entertainment institutions cannot be trusted to investigate themselves. We need a genuine inquiry led by workers working in productions involving Brand in the past and present, conducted by democratically elected and accountable representatives of the media trade unions, community organisations and abuse survivors’ groups.
End this misogynistic system!
Five years ago, #MeToo broke out and made huge strides forward in the fight against gender-based violence, giving confidence for survivors to speak out and fight back. However, as a part of the right-wing backlash that attempts to overturn achievements of the feminist movement that were won through struggle, survivors of abuse are facing even more brutal attempts of intimidation and vilification for calling out abusers. They are being victim-blamed for not speaking ‘soon enough’, being driven by financial motives, having a secret agenda and promoting so-called ‘cancel culture’.
In the workplace, it is therefore essential that these issues are tackled collectively by workers with the active backing of trade unions. More broadly, we need to get organised and build a socialist feminist movement to fight to end harassment and abuse in workplaces, schools, universities, at home, in the streets, everywhere! Join us in organising protests on 25th November, the international day for the elimination of gender- based violence!