Being tempted by Russell Brand


  Whatever became of that old cornerstone of British justice, innocent until proven guilty? I’ve read several accounts of the claims of sexual abuse against Russell Brand and in all of them they talk as though Brand had been found guilty on all claims. Stop it, guys. At least wait until there are court cases.


I came to Russell Brand late. I remember some of my students talking (admiringly) about him, and I thought they were talking about Russell Grant, the TV astrologist, which amused them mightily. Then I watched him in Forgetting Sarah Marshall and like thousands of others laughed my leg off. Am I allowed to say that any more? Should I reverse my judgement on him and the movie, just as I’m assumed to reverse my opinion on Kevin Spacey and House of Cards?


There are three things happening in cases like that of Brand, and all three stink a bit. The first is that Brand must be guilty. No he mustn’t.  He may be or he may not – it’s the job of the judicial system to establish that. The second is that we use ‘sexual abuse’ as though everyone knew exactly what it was. Luis Rubiales kissed a member of the women’s Spanish soccer team and he’s lost his job. The line between young men kissing young women on the mouth appears to be a tricky one: should he wait until she says ‘OK, kiss me now?’ The third thing that is being confused is people’s professional ability and their personal morality. Kevin Spacey may be the creepiest serxual aggressor ever but it still doesn’t mean he isn’t a superb actor. Young footballers may drive their expensive cars while intoxicated – an immoral act for sure – but that has no bearing on their skills as a footballer.


In The Crucible,  Arthur Miller shows a frightening picture of what happens when people get swept up in angry denunciation of people they see as suspect. Let’s try to remain clear-eyed, even if it’s not half as much fun.

5 Responses to Being tempted by Russell Brand

  1. James Hunter September 19, 2023 at 2:27 pm #

    Very good jude

    • Jude Collins September 20, 2023 at 10:37 am #

      Thank you, James…

  2. Patrick Finnegan September 20, 2023 at 5:44 pm #

    It reminds me of a certain Garda commissioner who immidiatly after the Dublin bombings blamed a certain group of people he hated with a vengeance and he was totally wrong.

  3. Donal Kennedy September 21, 2023 at 10:02 am #

    I don’t remember ever watching Brand on TV.

    But I remember how he was reported to have telephoned
    got his leg over the man’s Grand-daughter.

    If true he should have been Ostracised*

    In April 1919 Dail Eireann decreed that members
    of the Royal Irish Constabulary were spies and
    perjurers and should be ostracised by by the public.

    Apparently some citizens thought the exercise
    was a surgical one.

    The son of a proven perjurer attemtped
    to have the public commemorate the RIC
    as upstanding servants of the Irish Nation
    but his scheme was rejected by the said nation.

    The Blue Shirts have gone from bad to worse
    together with the leaders of the formerly republican
    Fianna Fail party.

  4. jpm September 22, 2023 at 12:15 am #

    should he wait until she says ‘OK, kiss me now?’
    Yes, or some signal that the woman is willing. Surprising that this is news to you. Or anybody. It’s 2023, for crying out loud.

    By the way, “innocent till proven guilty” is a legal principle in criminal courts. Many guilty people have walked free from those same courts. That doesn’t make them “innocent.” It means that prosecutors failed to prove guilt.

    In America, at least, many of those “innocent” people have then been sued in civil court and lost the same case based on “a preponderance of the evidence.”

    So, innocent till proven guilty doesn’t mean a damn thing. If women freely tell each other to watch out for certain creeps, and that one was “rapey-wape,” then we can safely make certain assumptions.

    We also know that Brand is a multi-millionaire and able to hire the best lawyers. You can rest assured that the ST and Channel 4 did their homework on this one.

    So enough of the rape apologies. Stick to the constitutional question.