The Politicisation of Guilt and Innocence.
The current media frenzy surrounding accusations of sexual assault and misconduct by comedian Russell Brand; the result of apparently over a year-long coordinated investigation by two mainstream British media outlets, is conspicuously political.
The alleged crimes occurred at a time when Brand was himself employed in the mainstream media and a favourite of Hollywood. Had his personal life and behaviour been scrutinised at that time, when he was arguably more famous and socially relevant, such an investigation would have had no overt political dimensions. However, since Brand has subsequently become associated with criticism of mainstream establishment narratives, with his career relegated primarily to a self-produced podcast on social media; the motives behind the Channel 4 and Sunday Times’ investigation reeks of a political vendetta.
It appears that the mainstream media’s stance on criminal allegations against celebrities is determined by where those celebrities are located on the political spectrum. Consider the relentless character assassination, harassment, and bullying unleashed against Tara Reade when she revealed her accusations against US President Joe Biden. The same lynch mob pursuing alleged perpetrator Russell Brand today, has been pursuing alleged victim Reade for years, to the point where she had to seek asylum outside the United States.
Channel 4 and the Sunday Times did not feel compelled to launch a year-long investigation into Joe Biden’s conduct; somehow feeling instead that a marginally Right-wing podcaster merited greater scrutiny than the most powerful man in the world. Brand’s supposed crimes were committed while he was in the good graces of Liberal establishment media, and, like Biden, he therefore was immune from scrutiny. Indeed, perhaps his accusers would have faced similar brow-beating as Tara Reade, had they come forward at that time. But Brand removed himself from the mainstream and has become increasingly critical of Liberal politics; thereby moving away from the protective screen provided by the Left, and making himself a target. This is impossible not to see.
Obviously, no one can judge the veracity of the accusations against Brand, and this is not a defence of the man. However, the selectivity of media outrage is unmistakable. Anonymous accusers against Russell Brand are regarded automatically as credible, while Tara Reade, who has provided extensive testimony and corroborating evidence against Joe Biden, is demonised and mercilessly persecuted. The message is crystal clear: whether you are a victim or a perpetrator, your treatment will be determined by your politics. Guilt or innocence will be presumed based on your position on the political spectrum.
This represents the politicisation of justice in the court of public opinion, and potentially in actual court; and this is profoundly dangerous. All allegations should be taken seriously, investigated without bias by law enforcement, and pursued through the legal process; whether the victim or perpetrator is a Republican or a Democrat; whether they are Liberal or Conservative; and whether they occupy positions of power or not.
Radha Stirling CEO at Due Process International
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