Russell Brand is evolving his next gig: Cult leader

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In response to allegations of sexual assault, comedian Russell Brand issued an absolutely bonkers denial video last week. Not content with that, in response to YouTube suspending his advertising, he issued on Friday what can only be described as his most extreme call-to-action yet, the old, “I need your support now more than ever.”

As a survivor of sexual abuse who’s just written a book about my various brushes with cults, I find the performance reason enough to convict him of, at the very least, trivializing sexual assault.

Recorded in the style of the anti-establishment guru he’s shoehorned his way into being — a dead-eyed stare delivered direct-to-camera, plus excessive hand-gesturing — Brand refers to his past as a problem of promiscuity. It’s not the first time he’s used patriarchal norms to excuse his behavior and promote his agenda.

When convenient, Brand has worn his “Shagger of the Year” title (first awarded by The Sun in the U.K. in 2006) as a badge of honor. He told GQ UK in 2006 he could bed three women a day. By 2017, his past helped shore up his creds as a spiritual influencer. “Because I’ve experienced, forgive me, sort of a promiscuous lifestyle . . . that I thought might resolve the way I feel, I now know that they won’t,” he told BBC Newsnight at that time.

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