As a celebrity figure, Russell Brand has always split the crowd. Back when he first arrived on the UK television scene, he was a preening dandy with intellectual pretensions, dashing off wordy columns for left-wing newspapers before running onstage to describe moments from his sex life in great detail—of which more anon.
Progressives lapped up his flamboyant persona while conservatives tutted loudly. In his more recent incarnation as an ice-bathing, truth-telling, countercultural hero, Brand’s appeal has mostly been for the right of center, while former allies on the left now roll their eyes.
In the wake of the accusations of serious sexual offenses made in a joint investigation by The Sunday Times and Channel 4’s Dispatches program last week, the Russell Brand Rorschach effect has been more pronounced than ever.
Depending on who you ask, Brand is either an innocent martyr paying the price for his controversial views on issues like Covid vaccines (he’s not a big fan) and the supposed corruption of Zelensky, or a guilty rapist being protected by hypocritical right-wingers willing to overlook his behavior because of his politics.