In a Channel 4 Television documentary and Times and Sunday Times newspaper coverage, the English comedian Russell Brand was accused by four women of sexual assault. The London Metropolitan Police Force is apparently investigating the allegations and said, “officers are in contact with the woman and will be providing her with support.” And while people should be focusing on Brand, the allegations made against him, or the fact that he got a standing ovation from a crowd after denying the allegations… people are focusing on Katy Perry.
And I get it. People have to make their money and throwing Katy Perry into the title of some Russell Brand will bring viewers in. There’s also the fact that some people don’t know who Russell Brand is. No one knows every celebrity in the world. So I don’t have a problem with that even though it skeeves me out to see an alleged predator being connected over and over to his ex-wife. What really throws me off and makes me angry are the people, particularly outlets, blatantly not naming Brand at all in their title of coverage and just having Perry’s photo.
Just to clarify as well, I don’t even like Perry. Sure, “Roar” is a banger. But “I Kissed a Girl” is giving pandering to the LGBTQ+ community. But even I can see the sexism in using her as the platform to discuss the disgusting allegations made against him. That’s his business. His actions. His shit. And I’m tired of seeing headline after headline where Perry is the focus as if she needs to answer for his crimes. No one Brand has to answer for these allegations. If it comes out from the victim’s mouths that Perry was involved, throw the fucking book at her and lock both of them up. But until then, outlets really need to chill with this sexist narrative.
Then there’s the other facet of bringing up old interviews with Perry after he divorced her over a text in 2011. You can bring up the fact that she called him “very controlling” in a 2013 interview with Vogue. Even bring up the fact that Perry said, “He didn’t like the atmosphere of me being the boss on tour. So, that was really hurtful, and it was very controlling, which was upsetting” to build on a pattern that shows that he has always been a problem and the more time they spent together, the more she saw who he was. Where I draw the line outlets click-bait to make it seem like Perry knew that he was a sexual predator and did nothing, furthering this narrative that she is responsible for his actions.
Perry reportedly said, “I felt a lot of responsibility for it ending, but then I found out the real truth, which I can’t necessarily disclose because I keep it locked in my safe for a rainy day. I let go and I was like: This isn’t because of me; this is beyond me. So I have moved on from that.” Admittedly, this statement makes me cringe. You don’t say that you’re holding something for a rainy day like this. It makes you sound like a douche, especially now with the allegations against Brand out. Because whatever Perry found out, it was bad enough that she was like, “Yeah, no. I’m out.” But again, she isn’t responsible for his shit to the point where outlets are focusing more on her and not him, his behavior, or the way he’s hurt people.
Even at the end of this, I feel conflicted about the whole situation. Because I do think, “What if Katy Perry knew about the sexual assaults? What if that was what she was hiding? What if her speaking up could’ve prevented something else from happening?” If she knew, she should’ve spoken up. But even then, remember when Brendan Fraser spoke up about being sexually assaulted and his career basically crumbled even though he was at the height of it? Just because you’re in Hollywood or famous doesn’t mean that power imbalances don’t exist. Throw on top of that the fact that women are often not believed, called hysterical, or told to just put up with gross behavior from men, even I don’t know if I would have the strength to speak up if I were in Perry’s shoes.
At the end of the day, Russell Brand is responsible for his own actions. And if Katy Perry is guilty, then sure, throw the book at her. Until then, let’s stop with the sexist bullshit for clicks and focus on Brand, the fact that he’s still getting tons of support from his followers, and the fact that he lived in a system that allowed him to do what he did, with no consequences, and for such a long time. A system that needs to be dismantled. Because you know he’s not the only one out there with allegations like this against him or on the horizon.