A senior Tory MP and chair of the Culture Committee has been slammed this afternoon for a “disgraceful” abuse of power.
Dame Caroline Dinenange wrote to the streaming site Rumble, demanding they demonetise Mr Brand’s content in light of ongoing allegations the star has vehemently denied.
Dame Caroline’s letter asked Rumble: “If you could confirm whether Mr Brand is able to monetise his content, including his videos relating to the serious accusations against him. If so, we would like to know whether Rumble intends to join YouTube in suspending Mr Brand’s ability to earn money on the platform.”
Rumble has since publicly responded to the letter, describing Dame Caroline’s demands as “extremely disturbing”.
A statement said: “While Rumble obviously deplores sexual assault, rape, and all serious crimes, and believes that both alleged victims and the accused are entitled to a full and serious investigation, it is vital to note that recent allegations against Russell Brand have nothing to do with the content on Rumble’s platform.
“Just yesterday, YouTube announced that, based solely on these media accusations, it was barring Mr Brand from monetising his video content. Rumble stands for very different values.
“We regard it as deeply inappropriate and dangerous that the UK Parliament would attempt to control who is allowed to speak on our platform or to earn a living from doing so. Singling out an individual and demanding his ban is even more disturbing given the absence of any connection between the allegations and his content on Rumble.”
The platform’s CEO, Chris Pavlovski, added: “Although it may be politically and socially easier for Rumble to join a cancel culture mob, doing so would be a violation of our company’s values and mission. We emphatically reject the UK Parliament’s demands.”
The move received praise from Elon Musk, but Dame Caroline’s letter received equal condemnation.
Her fellow Parliamentarian, Baroness Claire Fox, said: “It really is a disgrace that UK politicians are so confident that their role is to police what is published online (post passing the illiberal #OnlineSafetyBill) that they indulge in such open, censorious over-reach.”
Baroness Fox said it is to Rumble’s credit that its CEO “is not intimidated”.
Barrister and Spectator columnist Steven Barrett said the demand from the CMS Committee chairman “was constitutionally unprecedented”.
The Telegraph’s Allison Pearson said she was sure her readers would be “horrified” by the MP’s demands.
She said: “Since when does a Culture Media and Sports role involve being a witch finder?
“It’s chilling Dame Caroline should think it’s ok to behave in this way.”