Andrew Neil pummels British culture for making 'national icon' of Russell Brand
Andrew Neil compared the rise of Russell Brand to Jimmy Saville in a scathing attack on British culture.
The former BBC and GB News broadcaster, 74, appeared on Piers Morgan: Uncensored on Tuesday night where he offered his opinion on the investigation into Brand, which revealed multiple allegations of sexual assault which Brand has denied.
Neil slammed the ‘hypocrisy’ of people ‘rushing to dissociate themselves’ with Brand and asked why they were ‘ever associated with him in the first place,’ listing a large number of media outlets and networks Brand had been interviewed on or, in some cases, worked on.
He described Brand as ‘neither funny but consistently vulgar, rude and unwatchable,’ and asked why ‘the BBC, Channel 4, The Guardian, The News State, the Labour Party, ever want to be associated with essentially this sleazebag in the first place?’
The broadcaster went on to embark on a scathing takedown of British culture, which he said ‘elevates people of no talent, people of no redeeming value whatsoever, to the status of national icons,’ comparing the rise of Brand to that of Jimmy Saville.
‘I give you Jimmy Saville. The classic example of that. A man of no talent who had a hotline to Margaret Thatcher and the Royal Family and in a different way – I’m not comparing the two in terms of what they did – in a different way we elevated Russell Brand to be this man that seems to have the pulse of young people in British society, whose every word we should hang on, and was worthy of interviews on BBC’s Newsnight or Guardian conferences…’
He went on: ‘It’s just nonsense, and this power of celebrity which seems to have the ability to make sensible people stupid, this is another classic example of it and it is corrosive to our culture.’
Neil was also asked what some are describing as the ‘trial by media’ Brand is undergoing, but dismissed this, saying the media is doing what it is supposed to.
Referring to the Harvey Weinstein allegations, he said ‘women speaking to journalists first is an interim stage before seeking wider proceedings and facilitating their ability to do so. And I think that’s another plus to it.’
He continued: ‘It isn’t trial by media. The newspaper and TV station have done their job. Now if there’s going to be a trial it’s a job for the police … the job for the newspaper is to expose and reveal, that’s what they’ve done.’
Earlier in the same episode, Morgan himself addressed an old interview in which he had jokingly asked Brand about being a ‘sexual predator,’ noting the 2006 interview took place the same year Brand is alleged to have been in a relationship with a 16-year-old schoolgirl.
Before the Times piece was published, followed by a Channel 4 documentary hours later, Brand had taken to Twitter, aka X, where he said he ‘absolutely refutes very serious allegations’ being made against him.
While the allegations were not named at the time, he said he had been approached by a mainstream TV network and a mainstream newspaper with ‘extremely disturbing’ correspondence listing ‘a litany of extremely egregious and aggressive attacks.’
Amid some ‘stupid stuff’ in the correspondence, including, he said, that he ‘shouldn’t be able to attack mainstream media narratives,’ were ‘some very serious allegations that I absolutely refute.’
He added: ‘As I’ve written about extensively in my book, I was very, very promiscuous. Now during that time of promiscuity, the relationships that I had were absolutely always consensual.’
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