Russell brand

In praise of Rupert Murdoch

In March last year, when the bosses of Jesus College, Cambridge, lost their legal battle for a ‘faculty’ to take down the 17th-century memorial of the college’s benefactor, Tobias Rustat, because of slavery connections, from their college chapel, they did not appeal against the verdict of the ecclesiastical court. They knew they would not have won. But, as I mentioned at the time (26 March 2022), the Church of England high-ups, angry at their own heritage law, are not giving up. The latest biannual report of the Archbishops’ Commission for Racial Justice backs attempts to change the church’s faculty jurisdiction rules and promotes the 47 recommendations of From Lament to Action,

Why wasn’t Russell Brand cancelled in his prime?

In 2014, Rolf Harris was convicted of sexual offences against girls. I wrote in this space that this would have represented more of a cultural change in the treatment of celebrities if he had been unmasked at the height of his fame. Current stars, I suggested, are much more rarely denounced: ‘I would not dream of suggesting that Russell Brand is a sex criminal, but we know, from his own account, that he has slept with a great many women.’ He had even, on his infamous Radio 2 show, boasted of sleeping with Andrew Sachs’s grand-daughter, yet ‘the BBC broadcast this as comedy’. ‘If the celebrity wheel of fortune ever went

Rod Liddle

The inequality of sex

As we all shroud ourselves in grief at being unable to watch Russell Brand any more on terrestrial television stations, a few thoughts occur. The first and most obvious is (once again) the presumption of guilt on the part of the entertainment industry, a business entirely devoid of morals and managed largely by coked-up hypocrites. Obviously, for most human beings our repulsion at the immediacy with which Brand has been cancelled by these dreadful people is challenged by our collective detestation of the man himself – yet another of those ‘comedians’ who never ever said anything funny and whose shtick was simply to reflect the zeitgeist of the age by

The unmaking of Russell Brand

Russell Brand’s hero status among a prominent section of the British left began on Friday 13 September 2013 and officially came to an end one week ago. On both occasions the medium was the Guardian. The 2013 moment came when he wrote for the paper giving ‘his side of the story’ after being kicked out of a GQ awards event for making a joke about the Hugo Boss fashion label and its historic links with the Nazis. Just shy of ten years later, the paper’s columnist George Monbiot last week published a mea culpa for having once been an advocate for Brand. He had nominated the comedian as his ‘hero’

Perfectly serviceable – at points even charming: Four Kids and It reviewed

This film contains flying children, time travel and a sand monster that lives under a beach — yet the most incredible thing of all is that a family get to go on holiday. They actually leave their house, drive down an actual motorway, rent an actual seaside cottage and go for actual walks, passing well within two metres of actual other people! And not once do Derbyshire police film them with a drone, then post intimidating footage of it on the internet. The movie’s producers couldn’t have known they’d be releasing their creation into a locked-down world, but now that they have, who’s to say more people won’t watch it

Old habits die hard for Russell Brand

Oh dear. Although Russell Brand once said he had never voted, and never would, as a result of his ‘absolute indifference and weariness and exhaustion from the lies, treachery and deceit of the political class’, he went on to change his tune when her urged his fans to vote Labour in the 2015 election – and later endorsed Jeremy Corbyn. So, Mr S was curious to discover that Brand has now returned to his old tricks. The comedian-turned-left-wing revolutionary tells the Sunday Times that he didn’t vote in the EU referendum as he was on ‘holiday’: ‘How did he vote in the referendum? He mumbles: “I was on holiday.” He didn’t vote over Brexit? “No,” he

Russell Brand has endorsed Labour again – and the Tories should be worried

Back in the 2015 general election, Owen Jones became the subject of much mockery thanks to a column he wrote suggesting that Tories had reason to worry after Russell Brand endorsed Labour in the election. Given that Brand went on to claimed he had actually ‘f–ked up the election’ by inviting Ed Miliband to his house, Jones’s claim failed to ring true. But is it a case of second time lucky? As the Corbynites get excited today over YouGov analysis that suggests the Tories will lose seats come June 8, Brand has come out and endorsed the Labour leader. The comedian-turned-revolutionary-turned-comedian has penned a blog for the Huffington Post backing Jeremy Corbyn in this election: ‘A Labour government

Russell Brand’s principles prove costly

Spare a thought for Russell Brand. Although the comedian-turned-revolutionary-turned-comedian-again has made clear that ‘profit is a filthy word‘, in recent years this hasn’t stopped Brand from making one himself. Last year, Mr S had to break the sad news that the annual accounts for his company Pablo Diablo’s Legitimate Business Firm showed a healthy profit of at least £228,893 — to add to his already hefty £15 million fortune. Thankfully, Steerpike has happier news this time around. The latest accounts for the company show that no profit was made in 2015. With the company sitting on 766,564 in 2014, by 2015 this was reduced to 564,765. While Brand is not in the red, this


Peter Hitchens proves to be Russell Brand’s Achilles heel

Although Russell Brand has stopped producing his YouTube series The Trews after tiring of being in the spotlight, fans of the comedian-turned-revolutionary can now get their fill in the new documentary Brand: A Second Coming. While the film, which is directed by Ondi Timoner, was originally supported by Brand, he later got cold feet on viewing a first cut. After asking for changes — and saying that he would try and prevent the film’s release — he went on to distance himself from the project by boycotting the film’s premiere. So what was it in the film that caused Brand to perform a U-turn? Well aside from disclosures about his colourful love life, it appears to be none

Corbyn’s latest cheerleader wanted to vote for Russell Brand in general election

With the latest ICM poll putting the Tories on a 17-point lead over Labour, it seems as though Jeremy Corbyn’s beleaguered party are in a bit of a jam. But fret not — they have a plan. Today Momentum have released details of its new initiative ‘Concerts for Corbyn’. The plan is to inspire the nation to vote for Labour with music. What’s more Paul Weller will play at the first of these concerts. Explaining his decision, the rocker said he agreed to perform as he likes ‘what Corbyn says and stands for’. So, is this a sign of the swing voter finally being wooed back by Labour? Alas not. It turns out

Is Russell Brand thinking about going to university?

During Russell Brand’s brief foray into politics, the comedian struggled to be taken seriously by members of the establishment. On one such occasion, Peter Hitchens hit out at the BBC for inviting the comedian to discuss drugs policy on an episode of Newsnight. The incident irked Brand so much that he later asked for the scene to be omitted from a documentary charting his career. So Mr S is intrigued to learn that Brand may be taking steps to bolster his academic credentials. Word reaches Steerpike that Brand has been spied looking around the School of Oriental and African Studies — part of the University of London — which counts Aung San Suu Kyi among its almuni. A student

Emma Thompson backs the In campaign: ‘Britain is a cake-filled misery-laden grey old island’

David Cameron has been accused of adopting a ‘Project Fear‘ approach as he tries to convince members of the public to remain in the EU. While this tactic has attracted criticism, take heart that the Prime Minister has at least refrained from adopting the Emma Thompson approach of being plain rude. During a press conference for her new film Alone in Berlin, Thompson was asked about the upcoming referendum. At which point the Nanny McPhee actress took a swipe at old Blighty for being a ‘cake-filled misery-laden grey old island’: ‘A tiny little cloud-bolted, rainy corner of sort-of Europe, a cake-filled misery-laden grey old island.’ As for the right approach to remaining in

Russell Brand makes a filthy profit (again)

When Russell Brand laid out his vision for a revolution back in 2013, the comedian-turned-revolutonary said that profit was a filthy word. ‘David Cameron says profit isn’t a dirty word, well I say profit is a filthy word,’ he announced to a bemused Jeremy Paxman. So Mr S can’t help but feel for the poor soul after reading the latest accounts for his company Pablo Diablo’s Legitimate Business Firm. According to the abbreviated accounts, he reports a healthy profit of at least £228,893 — to add to his already hefty £15 million fortune. Still, given that Brand retired from politics earlier this year after failing to influence the election, perhaps filthy profits are no longer high on the former revolutionary’s

Is Benedict Cumberbatch the new Russell Brand?

With Russell Brand no longer an active revolutionary, having officially retired from politics after failing to make an impact on the general election, there’s a vacancy for a new celebrity champion of fashionable political causes. Thankfully Benedict Cumberbatch appears to be doing his best to fit the bill. The Sherlock actor made the news last week after he ranted on-stage about the government’s response to the refugee crisis following a performance of Hamlet at the Barbican. According to the Daily Mail, Cumberbatch let it be known that he thought the government’s pledge to take 20,000 refugees was not enough, before — eloquently — concluding: ‘f— the politicians’. As Boris Johnson points out in the Telegraph, Cumberbatch appeared to be

Welcome to the era of conspiracy-theory politics

Who argues that a ‘shadow state’ controls Britain? That a gang of faraway, faceless suits ‘orchestrate public life from the shadows’, from their ‘yachts in the Mediterranean’? Who thinks people in ‘the shadows’, who always remain ‘hidden’, exercise a ‘poisonous, secretive influence on public life’? A spotty sixth-former who spends way too much time on the internet, perhaps? Or maybe one of those cranky guys who hangs out in the discussion threads of David Icke’s website, convinced that lizards in suits run the world? Actually it’s Tom Watson, new deputy leader of the Labour Party. All those claims come from his rather bonkers book on the Murdoch empire, where Watson

Russell Brand comes to Jeremy Corbyn’s defence

Jeremy Corbyn has been having a difficult time of late. The Labour leadership favourite has become increasingly tetchy with the media after facing questions about his links to a Holocaust denier, as well as being the subject of criticism from a host of former Labour bigwigs. However, there is one man who he can rely on to fight his corner; step forward Russell Brand. Although Ed Miliband had to pay a late night visit to the comedian-turned-revolutionary’s £2 million apartment in order to win his endorsement during the general election, Brand has come out for Corbyn all on his own accord. Joining a long list of celebrity Corbynistas — who so far include Charlotte

Nuclear overreaction

When I was growing up in the 1970s, my three main fears were: being blown up by the IRA; being eaten by a Jaws-like great white shark; being vaporised by a nuclear bomb. I expect it was the same for most kids of my generation. The first two, obviously, were a function of the Birmingham bombings (et al.) and the Peter Benchley/Steven Spielberg axis of shark terror. And the third was the product of the relentless propagandising of CND as rehearsed faithfully on pretty much every BBC programme going from John Craven’s Newsround to The Archers, Animal Magic and Roobarb and Custard. I don’t actually remember the notorious episode where

High life | 9 July 2015

Wow, what a week. London may be bad for one’s health, but it sure makes it fun on the way to where we’re all going. I’m determined not to mention Greece — too much has been written about my poor country, most of it quite nice — so I will stick to London in general and The Spectator in particular. It began with a nostalgic party for about 28 chez George and Lita Livanos, childhood friends, in their treasure-filled house in Mayfair. A drunken lunch in a St James’s club followed, five old buddies reminiscing about the days when hangovers didn’t register. Then it was on to The Spectator’s summer

Ed Miliband is subject of ridicule in new song

After anti-austerity protesters turned on Russell Brand for endorsing Labour at a protest on Saturday, it was only a matter of time til Ed Miliband faced a similar backlash over his party’s defeat. Alas for Miliband, his takes musical form. Sleaford Mods – the working class mod band – have attacked the former Labour leader in their new album, with the song In Quiet Streets: ‘Miliband got hit with the ugly stick, not that it matters. The chirping c–t obviously wants the country in tatters’ Boris Johnson is also in their firing line with the song Rupert Trousers inspired by his speech at last year’s party conference, where he used a brick to demonstrate

Portrait of the week | 25 June 2015

Home Tens of thousands took part in a demonstration in London against austerity, and thousands more in other cities. Russell Brand was heckled for being too right-wing: ‘Fuck off back to Miliband,’ protestors in Parliament Square cried. David Cameron, the Prime Minister, explaining his thinking on further benefit cuts: ‘There is what I would call a merry-go-round: people working on the minimum wage having that money taxed by the government and then the government giving them that money back — and more — in welfare.’ The government sold more shares in the Lloyds Banking Group, bringing its ownership to less than 17 per cent. The village bank that appeared in an advertisement