Rumble Rejects UK Parliament’s Request To Demonetize Russell Brand In Light Of Sexual Assault Accusations: “We Have Devoted Ourselves To The Vital Cause Of Defending A Free Internet”
After being asked by the governing body to follow in YouTube’s footsteps, video sharing platform Rumble has publicly rejected what the describe as a “deeply inappropriate and dangerous” request from the United Kingdom Parliament’s to demonetize Russell Brand over his recently being accused of sexual assault.
The UK’s highest legislative authority first called on Rumble to deplatform Brand on September 20th via a personal letter sent to the site’s CEO, Chris Pavlovski.
“I am writing concerning the serious allegations regarding Russell Brand, in the context of his being a content provider on Rumble with more than 1.4 million followers,” wrote Dame Caroline Dinenage DBE MP, the chair of the Parliament’s Culture, Media and Sport Committee. “The Culture, Media and Sport Committee is raising questions with the broadcasters and production companies who previously employed Mr Brand to examine both the culture of the industry in the past and whether that culture still prevails today.”
“However, we are also looking at his use of social media, including on Rumble where he issued his pre-emptive response to the accusations made against him by The Sunday Times and Channel 4’s Dispatches,” Dame Dinenage continued. “While we recognise that Rumble is not the creator of the content published by Mr Brand, we are concerned that he may be able to profit from his content on the platform. We would be grateful if you could confirm whether Mr Brand is able to monetise his content, including his videos relating to the serious accusations against him.”
“If so, we would like to know whether Rumble intends to join YouTube in suspending Mr Brand’s ability to earn money on the platform,” they concluded. “We would also like to know what Rumble is doing to ensure that creators are not able to use the platform to undermine the welfare of victims of inappropriate and potentially illegal behaviour.”
On September 19th, YouTube announced that, in response to the accusations, they would be completely demonetizing all of Brand’s channels – Russell Brand, Football is Nice, Awakening With Russell, and Stay Free With Russell Brand.
“We have suspended [monetization] on Russell Brand’s channel for violating our Creator Responsibility policy,” explained YouTube in a statement to The Hill. “If a creator’s off-platform behavior harms our users, employees or ecosystem, we take action to protect the community.”
“This decision applies to all channels that may be owned or operated by Russell Brand,” they added.
Unsurprisingly, Pavlovski stood firm against the Parliament’s request and in turn, rather than reply with a letter of his own, took to the company’s official Twitter account to publicly denounce the UK government’s efforts to exercise influence over their business operations.
“Today we received an extremely disturbing letter from a committee chair in the UK Parliament,” Pavlovski began. “While Rumble obviously deplores sexual assault, rape, and all serious crimes, and believes that both alleged victims and the accused are entitled to a full and serious investigation, it is vital to note that recent allegations against Russell Brand have nothing to do with the content on Rumble’s platform.”
“Just yesterday, YouTube announced that, based solely on these media accusations, it was barring Mr. Brand from monetizing his video content,” he then recalled. “Rumble stands for very different values. We have devoted ourselves to the vital cause of defending a free internet – meaning an internet where no one arbitrarily dictates which ideas can or cannot be heard, or which citizens may or may not be entitled to a platform.”
“We regard it as deeply inappropriate and dangerous that the UK Parliament would attempt to control who is allowed to speak on our platform or to earn a living from doing so,” Pavlovski asserted. “Singling out an individual and demanding his ban is even more disturbing given the audience of connection between the allegations and his content on Rumble. We don’t agree with the behavior of many Rumble creators, but we refute to penalize them for actions having nothing to do with our platform.”
Bringing his response to a close, the CEO assured the public, “Although it may be politically and socially easier for Rumble to join a cancel culture mob, doing so would be a violation or our company’s values and missions. We emphatically reject the UK Parliament’s demands.”
Following its publication to Twitter, Rumble Director of Government Relations Abbie Sumbrum would forward Pavlovski’s statement directly to the UK Parliament’s Culture, Media and Sport Committee as their official response.