Russell Brand has become a countercultural icon of sorts in recent years with his populist-like takes on cultural and political topics that he disseminates to millions of followers on YouTube and social media.
Over the weekend, three British news outlets published a joint investigation in which four women accused the comedian of sexually assaulting them over a decade ago. Brand has denied the allegations. In the wake of the news, he has received support from some on the right who blame the claims on retaliation against his anti-establishment views.
On Monday’s show, Megyn was joined by Will Witt, author of Do Not Comply, and Turning Point USA reporter Savanah Hernandez to discuss the reports and why – in the wake of the #MeToo movement – it is not okay to simply believe all women or believe all men.
The Allegations Against Brand
On Saturday, The Sunday Times, The Times, and Channel 4’s “Dispatches” published a report and released a documentary in which four women, who have chosen to remain anonymous, allege Brand sexually assaulted them in separate incidents between 2006 and 2013. One woman said she was 16 at the time of the incident in London.
Brand, who has admitted to past drug and sex addiction, preemptively denied the allegations in a video posted on social media on Friday before the investigation became public. In the video, Brand described the claims as “very serious allegations that I absolutely refute” and said the encounters were consensual.
The news outlets used pseudonyms for the four accusers to protect their privacy. A woman being called Nadia described being raped by Brand after rejecting his advances. She was treated at a rape crisis center but declined to file a police report. She provided screenshots of a text exchange with Brand after the alleged assault in which he said he was “very sorry.” Investigators apparently reviewed her medical records to corroborate the account.
Another accuser, Alice, claims to have been 16 (the age of consent in the U.K.) when she dated a then-31-year-old Brand for three months. She graphically described him forcing his penis down her throat during a sexual assault and alleges he “groomed” her.
A woman referred to as Phoebe said she was sexually assaulted by Brand after ending a relationship with him. She claims they were working on a project together when he pinned her down on his bed and put his hand down her pants. A fourth accuser described alleged sexual assault, as well as physical and emotional abuse.
Without naming Brand, London’s Metropolitan Police said on Monday that it is investigating “a report of a sexual assault which was alleged to have taken place in Soho in central London in 2003.” Additionally, media outlets like the BBC that worked with Brand during that time are said to be conducting their own internal probes.
‘It’s Worth an Investigation’
At the height of the #MeToo movement, ‘believe all women’ was the catchphrase that led to innocent men finding themselves wrongfully accused. The counter to that, Megyn fears, is to dismiss all claims of sexual misconduct. “I realize that the knee-jerk instinct now by so many is, ‘Russell Brand is wrongly accused. These women are all liars,’” she said. “We don’t need to so overcorrect from the #MeToo movement that every woman gets completely disregarded and called a liar when she finds the guts to come forward and make an allegation.”
She said the allegations against Brand are “extremely detailed” and “worth investigating” to see where the facts may lead. “Could you please for a second stay open-minded to the possibility that the women are telling the truth,’” Megyn asked. “We don’t need a knee-jerk condemn him, and we don’t need the knee-jerk condemn them.”
Seeking the truth should not be political, yet Hernandez shared that it feels as though it has become politicized to call for a fair investigation in these situations. “I understand that men have had their masculinity attacked and that’s not right, but also we have cultivated a culture on the right where if you speak out against men in any way, shape, or form and you don’t immediately believe them – especially in a situation like this – then you as the woman are told that you’re a radical feminist and that you should be simply disregarded,” she explained. In this particular case, she said the “timing” of the investigation is a red flag given Brand’s current success. But she admitted that the evidence to back up the claims is “substantial.”
Ultimately, Megyn said it’s about wanting more facts. “I’m just pissed because what I’ve seen is a rash of guys coming out to be like, ‘It’s bullsh-t’ – you don’t know whether it’s bullshi-t or not,” she said. “Did you read the report of this woman? Did you read the alleged rape details? Did you read the text message that she has from Russell Brand begging for forgiveness? There’s at least enough for us to want more facts. That’s it.”
You can check out Megyn’s full interview with Hernandez and Witt by tuning in to episode 629 on YouTube, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you like to listen. And don’t forget that you can catch The Megyn Kelly Show live on SiriusXM’s Triumph (channel 111) weekdays from 12pm to 2pm ET.