Russell Brand Isn’t An Activist, He’s An Embarrassment

Russell BrandRussell Brand is what I call a “celebrity activist” – someone who has oodles and oodles of money and suddenly decides that they’ve achieved enlightenment, and that suddenly qualifies them to tell everyone else how to live their lives.

Achieving this level of “enlightenment” also apparently qualifies people like Russell Brand to be a raging jackwagon to everyone else, but it’s okay because they’re “on our side.”

Aside from some of his more batty ideas, including that he’s open to the idea that 9/11 was an inside job (usually these people eventually blame Jews if you follow their train of logic to the inevitable end), Russell Brand has been very successful in drawing attention to himself as a pied piper for the more clueless members of the left.

In a previous article titled “Why The Left Needs To Reject Russell Brand,” I brought up the fact that while his intentions may be honorable, his behavior is certainly not helpful to our cause.

Recently, Russell Brand, along with some of his followers, stormed the London office of the Royal Bank of Scotland in a protest that ended up being another publicity stunt that did little more than keep hourly workers from getting their lunches, and almost certainly didn’t inconvenience any of the traders or upper management. An employee of the Royal Bank of Scotland fired back with a letter to Brand, which has since gone viral. The following are excerpts from the letter, but you can read it in its entirety here.

Dear Russell,

Hi. I’m Jo. You may remember me. You may even have filmed me. On Friday, you staged a publicity stunt at an RBS office, inconveniencing a hundred or so people. I was the lanky slouched guy with a lot less hair than you but (I flatter myself) a slightly better beard who complained to you that you, a multimillionaire, had caused my lunch to get cold. You started going on at me about public money and bankers’ bonuses, but look, Russell, anyone who knows me will tell you that my food is important to me, and I hadn’t had breakfast that morning, and I’d been standing in the freezing cold for half an hour on your whim. What mattered to me at the time wasn’t bonuses; it was my lunch, so I said so…

My first question is, what were you hoping to achieve? Did you think a pack of traders might gallop through reception, laughing maniacally as they threw burning banknotes in the air, quaffing champagne, and brutally thrashing the ornamental paupers that they keep on diamante leashes — and you, Russell, would damningly catch them in the act? But that’s on Tuesdays. I get it, Russell, I do: footage of being asked to leave by security is good footage. It looks like you’re challenging the system and the powers that be want your voice suppressed. Or something. But all it really means, behind the manipulative media bullshit, is that you don’t have an appointment.

Of course, Russell, I have no idea whether you could get an appointment. Maybe RBS top brass would rather not talk to you. That’s their call — and, you know, some of your behaviour might make them a tad wary. Reputations are very important in banking, and, reputation-wise, hanging out with a guy who was once fired for broadcasting hardcore pornography while off his head on crack is not ideal. But surely a man who can get invited onto Question Time to discuss the issues of the day with our Lords & Masters is establishment enough to talk to a mere banker. And it would be great if you could. Have you tried, Russell? Maybe you could do an interview with one of them. An expert could answer your questions and rebut your points, and you could rebut right back at them. I might even watch that. (By the way, Russell, if you do, and it makes money, I would like a cut for the idea, please. And I’m sure it would. Most things you do make money.)

But instead of doing something potentially educational, Russell, you staged a completely futile publicity stunt. You turned up and weren’t allowed in. Big wow. You know what would have happened if a rabid capitalist had just turned up unannounced? They wouldn’t have been allowed in either. You know what I have in my pocket? A security pass. Unauthorised people aren’t allowed in. Obviously. That’s not a global conspiracy, Russell; it’s basic security. Breweries have security too, and that’s not because they’re conspiring to steal beer from the poor. And security really matters: banks are simply crawling with highly sensitive information. Letting you in because you’re a celebrity and You Demand Answers could in fact see the bank hauled in front of the FCA. That would be a scandal. Turning you away is not. I’m sorry, Russell, but it’s just not.

Your response to my complaint that a multimillionaire was causing my lunch to get cold was… well, frankly, it was to completely miss the point, choosing to talk about your millions instead of addressing the real issue, namely my fucking lunch. But that’s a forgivable mistake. We all have our priorities, Russell, and I can understand why a man as obsessed with money as I am with food would assume that’s what every conversation is about. Anyway, you said that all your money has been made privately, not through taxation. Now, that, Russell, is actually a fair point. Well done.

Although I can’t help but notice that you have no qualms about appearing on the BBC in return for money raised through one of the most regressive taxes in the country, a tax which leads to crippling fines and even jail time for thousands of poor people and zero rich people. But never mind. I appreciate that it’s difficult for a celeb to avoid the BBC, even if they’re already a multimillionaire and can totally afford to turn the work down. Ah, the sacrifices we make to our principles for filthy lucre, eh, Russell? The condoms and hairspray won’t buy themselves. Or, in my case, the pasta.

And then there is that film you’re working on, isn’t there, for which I understand your production company is benefitting from the Enterprise Investment Scheme, allowing the City investors funding your film to avoid tax. Was that the film you were making on Friday, Russell, when you indignantly pointed out to me that none of your money comes from the taxpayer? Perhaps it had slipped your mind.

And, of course, you’ve been in a few Hollywood films now, haven’t you, Russell? I take it you’ve heard of Hollywood Accounting? Of course you have, Russell; you produced Arthur. So you are well aware that Hollywood studios routinely cook their books to make sure their films never go into taxable profit — for instance, Return Of The Jedi has never, on paper, made a profit. Return Of The fucking Jedi, Russell. As an actor, and even more so as the producer of a (officially) loss-making film, you’ve taken part in that, you’ve benefitted from it. (While we’re on the subject, I hear great things about Hollywood’s catering. I hope you enjoyed it. Expensive, delicious, and served (at least when I dream about it) nice and hot.)

Much as I disagree with most of your politics, I’ve always rather liked you. You do a good job of coming across as someone who might be fun to be around. Turns out, that’s an illusion.

Because, you see, Russell, when you accosted me, you started speaking to me with your nose about two inches from mine. That’s pretty fucking aggressive, Russell. I’m sure you’re aware of the effect. Putting one’s face that close to someone else’s and staring into their eyes is how primates square off for a fight. Regardless of our veneer of civilisation, when someone does that to us, it causes instinctive physical responses: adrenaline, nervousness… back down or lash out. (Or, apparently, in the case of the celebrity bikes you like to hang out with, swoon.) I’m sure that, like turning up with a megaphone instead of an appointment, such an aggressive invasion of personal space makes for great footage: you keep talking to someone in that chatty reasonable affable tone of yours, and they react with anger. Makes them look unreasonable. Makes it look like they’re the aggressive ones. Makes it look like people get flustered in the face of your incisive argument. When in fact they’re just getting flustered in the face of your face.

I’ve been thinking about this the last couple of days, Russell, and I can honestly say that the only other people ever to talk to me the way you did were school bullies. It’s been nearly a quarter of a century since I had to deal with such bastards, so I was caught quite off my guard. Nice company you’re keeping. Now I think about it, they used to ruin my lunchtimes too.

One last thing, Russell. Who did you inconvenience on Friday? Let’s say that you’re right, and that the likes of Fred Goodwin need to pay. OK, so how much trouble do you think Fred faced last Friday as a result of your antics? Do you think any of his food got cold, Russell? Even just his tea? I somehow doubt it. How about some of the millionaire traders you despise so much (some of whom are nearly as rich as you, Russell)? Well, no, because you got the wrong fucking building. (Might want to have a word with your researchers about that.) Which brings us back to where we came in: a bunch of admittedly fairly well paid but still quite ordinary working people, admin staff mostly, having their lives inconvenienced and, in at least one case, their lunches quite disastrously cooled, in order to accommodate the puerile self-aggrandising antics of a prancing multimillionaire. If you had any self-awareness beyond agonising over how often to straighten your fucking chest-hair, you’d be ashamed. (Source)

Batty conspiracy ideas and all of his money aside, my biggest issue with Russell Brand is that he just doesn’t “get it” when it comes to activism or causes. Yet, Cthulhu forbid I criticize the guy lest an angry horde of equally out-of-touch Brand devotees swarm my page accusing me of being jealous of him, or some other jabberwocky like that. Sure, Russell Brand eventually published an apology of sorts, but that still doesn’t address the fact that he comes across as little more than a bumbling, narcissistic bully. In a time of increasing political polarization, the last thing we need is more angry voices screaming at someone a few inches from their face. We don’t need celebrity activists and people who are using a cause to bolster their public profile. We need more voices of reason, and fewer voices like the conspiracy nuts that hijacked the Occupy movement a few years back.

Or maybe we should look at the possibility that Russell Brand is a plant by the 1% to make everyone who cares about income inequality and other social issues look like a raging asshole. Now there’s a conspiracy hypothesis I can get behind.


Facebook comments

  • Alex

    This article is so off the mark and unresearched it’s embarrassing!

    • Antonio Iraheta

      I couldn’t agree more. I’m with you man. I am a card carrying democrat and i must say the left is always quick to throw people under the bus. Given how Russell picked up a fight with Sean Hannity I can let this one slide but to say he is an embarrassment??? FPs dont make me tune out…

      • Alex

        Yep! And slow to call the people out who are idiots and arguing for things that should be complete non-topics. Too soft, and when someone actually comes out and does what we all should be doing, he gets bashed for it. To be honest, with that attitude, this country deserves a republican majority in the house! Blows my mind everyday I’m here >.<

        Plus I had to pay $180 to get treated for a chest infection today! When y'all gonna sort that healthcare system out and all play nice! Cost me nothing back where I'm from lol sheesh!

    • Steve

      What, so you think 9/11 was a demolition job like twatty Brand does? Perhaps you ought to do a little research yourself.

      • Alex

        Actually, (although there does seem to be a lot of evidence to suggest it was) I don’t, no. Why would you think that? I do plenty research thanks. Which is why I know that aside from the theories stuff he has (like you mentioned) everything else is spot on and fact. And it’s people like you that refuse to believe the facts and are so apathetic, that you don’t donanything about it except sit and moan. I guess that’s what happens when you vote for the party or person and not the idea. Like I am just taking a wild guess that you do. You don’t have to agree with everything someone says… Open your eyes a bit. Politics is boken and becoming more so day by day. Follow the money! I don’t usually bother discussing such things with people who just make wild and general insults like you just did. It helps no one and it isn’t s discussion. Furthermore, it just makes you look a bit of an idiot.

  • Keith Davis

    Your last article bashing brand was shit, and so is this…

  • This is ridiculous. The thing is he is the only celebrity that is not a sell out and he rises above most of them. He has been a drug addict and is clean now. I look up to him for being a clean and sober human being. The guy speaks his mind which is suppose to be a freedom in this country and yet it is still criticized by sheeple thanks to our brainwashing mainstream media telling us what to do and say. People need to think for themselves and turn off the t.v. This article is bull.

  • Josh

    Second article I’ve seen from this site looking to insult the man, instead of disproving what he says. It’s called argumentum ad hominem. And it’s what people do when they can’t argue against a person’s ideas. They attack the person instead, and it’s an indication they’ve lost the debate.

    • Josh

      The purpose of this page is to lock you into the two party paradigm, to convince you that there are no ideas outside what the democrats and republicans propose that are worth listening to, then convince you to vote democrat.

      Truth is not something this page cares about. Vote democrat, and as far as this page is concerned, you’ve found truth. And that’s bullshit.

  • jonjstrine42

    I couldn’t agree with you more, Mr. Schewitz. Not only were you correct in saying that a bunch of Russell Brand fanatics would attempt to rip you apart for this article, you were 100% correct in stating that Brand does more harm than good for the progressive/liberal cause. He’s a publicity hound. He advocates more for his own goal (staying relevant) than the goals of the people he is supposedly advocating for.
    We like to joke and make mean-spirited comments when right-wingers do stunts like Brand’s. It only fitting that he be called out for them as well.

    • Andrew

      I agree. He’s not as insane as Alex Jones, but he sure seems like the left’s version of Jones.

    • TruthBtold

      Is that why he does his show on a network for millions of dollars and advertisers? In, no, he does his show on YouTube. No doubt a network would pay him to do a show on air, but he chooses not to. So how exactly is that him “trying to stay relevant?” Aside from the 9/11 thinking, he makes legit arguments against real grievances with our gov’t and society.
      I really don’t understand this article, or your comment. I didn’t actually see you address what about his arguments is so vile? Please… Rebut.

      • jonjstrine42

        I have no qualm with his views. I just believe he’s going about it in such a way that the message gets lost. And a network did pay him to do a show. It was called “Brand X” and it aired for two season on FX. According to reports, FX has picked up a script from Brand based somewhat on his life. So the new show on the horizon could (and I’m saying “could” because it’s only a theory) be the reason he’s out there doing these publicity stunts. To keep himself in the public eye. To stay relevant.
        If he wants to help the causes he professes to believe in, then there are better ways to do it than public grandstanding that only gets him press and not his ideals.

  • Andrew

    Admittedly, I don’t know much about Mr. Brand. The first I heard of him was a few days ago when an anarchist I have added on Facebook(yes, I’m a bit confused as to why I have such a person added as well) liked a posting of Mr. Brand. I browsed through a few pictures and concluded he was just some anti-government nut.

    It appears my initial observation was correct. Perhaps some aspects of his cause are just, but the fact that he doesn’t think it’s wrong to target the working class like Jo just makes me despise him. The fact that he was apparently screaming in the face of a 40-year old worker, makes me feel sorry for Jo, and angry at Russel.

    What Jo said is true, acting like security guards throwing you out of a bank after barging in unannounced(imagine that) is proof that THE POWERS THAT BE!!!11!! are stifling your rights is foolish.

    • Alex

      Mate, I suggest you do a bit more research before posting. Read his response and the accounts from people on what really happened. And then listen to what brand is talking about and like him or not, try to say it’s wrong what he is saying and stands for. Challenge for the weekend! He’s actually pretty fair and very right aboun a lot of things, not some communist countries crazy tyrant that selective media (including this article) would lead you to believe. This letter broke days ago and lots have been said about it since, including a response as I said. Like everything else though, even these guys are now guilty of selective media coverage…

      Oh and one more thing, where in any of this did he ‘target the working class and Jo’???

      • Andrew

        I read his reply before I posted my original comment. I wasn’t impressed. He addressed none of Jo’s legitimate criticisms, and didn’t even apologize for what he did.

        As Jo said in his letter, Russel and his hoard stormed the wrong building. The only “EVIL MONEY LOVING PIGS!!!111!!!” they are inconvenienced were “admin staff.”

      • Alex

        Well I don’t know which letter you read but he absolutely did apologise and tongue in cheekly offered to buy him lunch again in person. And umm, yes he addressed each point made and there was no ‘storming’ of any buildings, the security made the decision to shut the doors when he came in. Again, what out of everything he is saying and bringing to the public eye is wrong? Factually and morally… He’s right on point on pretty much everything.

        What do you not agree with May I ask?

      • Andrew

        He did not address the points that Jo made including his gains from taxes, something he(Russell) claims to hate. Perhaps I misread the letter, but I did not see him say anything close to, “I was wrong to harass you and your coworkers.”

        It was more along the lines of, “Sorry I inconvenienced you *buuuuut….*”

        I have not seen any of his films, nor do I plan to, but from Jo’s letter, apparently he attempts to cause conflict in order to make it appear as if he is the victim? To me, that is a despicable tactic, regardless of your message is.

        His message may be a good message, but the fact that he chooses to act like a school yard bully with anger issues to convey that message makes me dislike him.

        If he wanted to act adult, why not stage protests(that don’t involve screaming) outside the office, instead of “storming” it?

  • Jim Bean

    Nice piece, Manny. Both you and the employee who wrote the letter quite accurately gauged and pigeonholed Brand.

    You must be quite disappointed at the comments offered by many of the readers since they are the face of the Left. It illustrates how great is the number of people who let their righteous passion for an cause devolve into behaviors that end up becoming an obstacle to that cause and how blind they are to it.

    Cases like this are, I think, are rooted in an innate need by some people to identify someone to worship. With the decline of Christianity, folks like brand and Obama must seem like reasonable substitutes.

  • maritzka


    • Steve

      That 9/11 was a demolition job? Yes.

  • Brent Albala

    Anti-Semite and moron. Ignore.

  • SickOfConservatives

    Amen. I still don’t get how this guy of all people emerged as some kind of guru. Maybe it’s the faux-Jesus look, or Americans who are suckers for an English accent. Enough with Brand already. Try reading a book instead.

  • davidkearns

    So, Brand is wrong because some management prat got his knickers in a knot and sent him a snide little letter that went on for wwwwway too long?NEXT!

  • John

    Cue the butt hurt Brand fans….