Russell Brand’s attempted revolution has targeted big business, tax dodging firms and greedy property developers, but the comedian turned campaigner and activist has suffered something of an unexpected setback.
Rather than being exposed by a media sting or an expensively orchestrated attack, it took the form of a witty open letter from a disgruntled City worker, who labelled Brand a “school bully” who kept him from his lunch.
Last Friday Brand led a protest outside the Royal Bank of Scotland’s London office. With a camera crew in tow he challenged staff over pay and bonuses at the state-owned bank. Security closed the lobby, locking protesters – and staff on their lunch break – outside.
Joseph Kynaston Reeves, 40, was one of the staff locked outside and he took Brand to task over his rapidly chilling take-away paella in a heated encounter caught on film and posted on social media.
Mr Kynaston Reeves, a business analyst at the bank but not an employee and who said he does not speak for the bank, attracted praise and scorn in equal measure online after he published his letter to Brand.
Posting on his “Squander Two” blog on Tuesday, he attacked the actor and comedian for his hypocrisy over tax and taking “huge fees” from the BBC.
The banker, who plays in an electro-rock band called Squander Pilots, called Brand a “school bully” and labelled the protest as “puerile self-aggrandising antics of a prancing multimillionaire”. He said he was accosted by a “fucking aggressive” Brand outside the bank, though footage posted online of the incident suggested he interrupted a television interview to complain that the locked doors were keeping him from enjoying his £7.50 paella from a nearby Italian deli.
Taking Brand to task over the purpose of the “completely futile publicity stunt”, he wrote: “What were you hoping to achieve? Did you think a pack of traders might gallop through reception, laughing maniacally as they threw burning banknotes in the air – and you Russell, would damningly catch them in the act? But that’s on Tuesday.
“I get it, Russell, I do: footage of being asked to leave by security is good footage. It looks like you’re challenging the system and the powers that be want your voice suppressed. Or something. But all it really means, behind the manipulative media bullshit, is that you don’t have an appointment.” Previous posts by Mr Kynaston Reeves suggest that he and Brand were unlikely to agree on much politically. Brand has attacked pretty much every vested-interest group in the country, while his banker foe has posted that he is of the “right-wing persuasion”.
Mr Kynaston Reeves’ strongly worded letter does, however, concede that Brand may have a “fair point” over the much criticised £46bn government bailout of the bank, before quickly returning to his main line of attack; that Brand had inconvenienced staff and most importantly was responsible for his “disastrously cooled” lunch.
Brand apologised on his website and offered to take Mr Kynaston Reeves for a “hot paella to make up for the one that went cold”.
“It’s not nice to suffer because of actions that are nothing to do with you. I imagine the disabled people of our country who have been hit with £6bn of benefit cuts during the period that RBS received £46bn of public bail-out money feel similarly cheesed off,” he said.
“I know that’s not you, you’re just a bloke trying to make a crust and evidently you like that crust warm – but again, it wasn’t me who locked the RBS, I just asked a few difficult questions and the place went nuts.”