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Video platform rejects call to demonetize Russell Brand

Rumble has dismissed a call to follow YouTube and stop the entertainer from generating income through video content

Toronto-based online video-sharing platform Rumble has rejected what it called a “deeply inappropriate” question posed by a UK member of parliament who had asked if the website intended to join YouTube in demonetizing Russell Brand’s channel after a string of sexual-assault allegations were made against the actor and comedian.

In a statement issued on X (formerly Twitter) on Wednesday, Rumble chief executive Chris Pavlovski wrote that it was “deeply inappropriate and dangerous” for Caroline Dinenage, the Conservative chair of the culture, media and sport committee, to question if Brand should be permitted to publish content and earn money via the website.

“Singling out an individual and demanding [Brand’s] ban is even more disturbing given the absence of any connection between the allegations and his content on Rumble,” Pavlovski wrote. The statement added that Rumble aspires to be an online community “where no one arbitrarily dictates which ideas can or cannot be heard, or which citizens may or may not be entitled to a platform.”

Elsewhere in her letter, Conservative MP Dinenage also asked Rumble if it was taking steps to ensure that its content creators did not use the service to potentially affect victims of “inappropriate and potentially illegal behavior.”

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Russell Brand speaks onstage during MusiCares Person of the Year honoring Aerosmith at West Hall at Los Angeles Convention Center on January 24, 2020 in Los Angeles, California.
YouTube cuts Russell Brand’s ad revenue following rape allegations

Dinenage’s enquiry to Rumble follows YouTube’s announcement on Tuesday that it was suspending Brand’s ability to receive advertising revenue for posting video content to his audience of more than 6.6 million subscribers. It has been estimated that Brand makes approximately $61,000 per month from YouTube revenue.

As part of its statement, Rumble said that it has “different values” to those of YouTube, and that it was committed to supporting a “free internet.” It added that, while it might be easier to “join a cancel culture” mob, this would be a violation of the company’s ethics.

Last week, Brand was the subject of an exposé jointly published by The Times, the Sunday Times and broadcaster Channel 4 which alleged that the 48-year-old had engaged for years in sexually inappropriate activity, and included a rape allegation. Brand denies all accusations against him.

He posted a video to his various platforms, including Rumble, on the eve of the accusations being made public, to issue a denial. The video has been viewed more than 600,000 times on Rumble, where he has in excess of 1.4 million subscribers.

Rumble, which has built a reputation as a space for alternative voices, claims to be among the few “neutral” video-streaming platforms on the internet.

September 21, 2023 at 11:28PM

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