In news that will delight some and disappoint others, Russell Brand has announced he is quitting social media for an undisclosed period of time, claiming he is sick "becoming the story".
The comedian and political activist announced he would be taking a breaking from his weekly YouTube programme, The Trews, in an episode on Thursday. His hiatus came a day after Brand released a YouTube video backing Jeremy Corbyn despite swearing off politics after the general election.
“I’m not going to be doing the Trews, I’m not going to be on Twitter, or Facebook," he said. “I think we’ve gone as far as we can with the Trews for now.”
Brand said his departure was in part due to the “incredible condemnation” he had received in the media.
Some of his more recent episodes proved controversial, particularly an episode in July where he called the minute’s silence held in honour of the victims of the Tunisia massacre “a minute of bullshit”.
He described the furore around his comment as a “fascinating moment” and repeated his claim that the British Government is perpetuating global issues by selling arms to other countries.
The 2014 'Messiahs'
The 2014 'Messiahs'
1/9 Russell Brand
If anyone thinks he’s a saviour it’s Russell Brand, who has been passionately calling for political and social revolution over the past 12 months. Whether you agree with him or not, he’s unarguably done a lot to make sure his voice is heard - he’s marched on numerous protests, written a book about it and appeared on Question Time with Nigel Farage all to educate the public that it’s time for change. But he doesn’t want to stand for Parliament because he fears he would end up “like one of them”.
2/9 Jeremy Clarkson
It has not been the best of years for Jeremy Clarkson. There have been numerous ‘racist’ allegations made against him, although the most high-profile was when he was filmed using the ‘N-word’ for an episode of Top Gear. He denied using the racist word, but soon after apologised following calls for him to be sacked. Later on in the year, he was chased out of Argentina after driving through the country with a license plate referring the Falklands War. He denied any ill-doing once again, and still claims to have been the victim in the sorry incident.
3/9 Nigel Farage
This year has unfortunately belonged to Nigel Farage in terms of shouting the loudest in British politics. He has offered his right-wing views on immigration, breastfeeding and, who could forget the time he said that it was inoffensive for white people to ‘black up’? He is relentlessly unapologetic for his questionable views, claiming to voice the opinions of other members of the British public.
4/9 Katie Hopkins
If ever a tragic, controversial or sensitive news story breaks, Katie Hopkins (who is famous for little else than turning down Alan Sugar in The Apprentice) can be relied to say the most provocative and often cruel comment imaginable. She berated Jessica Ennis-Hill for bravely making a stand against convicted rapist Ched Evans; complained about the “negligence” of Kate and Gerry McCann; bemoaned the parenting skills of the late Peaches Geldof; and branded “travellers and gypsies feral humans”. And of course, she once compared herself to the Messiah, tweeting on Easter weekend that she was the “Jesus of the outspoken”.
Morrissey, music’s most miserable and disenchanted hero, has continued his long-term quest to convert the world to vegetarianism through emotive, powerful methods. There was his new line of T-shirts, which feature the message ‘Be kind to animals or I’ll kill you’, then the time he said that Jamie Oliver should be gassed because he sometimes cooks meat (he also inexplicably volunteered Princess Anne to do the honours); and then, perhaps most famously, he compared meat to paedophilia. “They are both rape, violence, murder,” he said cheerfully.
She is viewed as a makeshift Messiah to many teenage girls (and boys), as well as twenty-somethings, but has Beyoncé’s preachiness gone too far? She’s talked about feminism a lot (no bad thing, obviously), including an essay on gender inequality in the Shriver Report, but she also then went on the Mrs Carter tour (who needs Beyonce when you can take Jay-Z’s surname instead?).
7/9 Tony Blair
In fairness, Tony Blair hasn’t claimed to be the Messiah himself – it’s just all the dubious awards he’s received in 2014 that suggest he might be, starting with GQ’s Philanthropist of the Year award, then the Gay Times’ 2014 Gay Icon and finishing with the NSPCC’s Global Development prize, too.
8/9 David Mellor
Do you know who David Mellor is? Do you know how important he is? Do you know he’s been in the Cabinet; that he’s an award-winning broadcaster, that’s he’s on the Queen’s Counsel? Do you think your experiences are anything compared to his? If you’re a London taxi driver, who did your job by taking him on a quicker route to St Katharine’s Dock, then you will recognise all of the above.
9/9 Julian Assange
Publicity and indeed his supporters may have waned this year, but Julian Assange’s god complex is as strong as ever. Once the poster boy for liberals, who applauded him for exposing government hypocrisy, but has been holed up in the Ecuadorian Embassy for the past two years to escape extradition to Sweden, where he is wanted for questioning over accusations of sexual assault. He sometimes appears on the balcony to make emotional speeches or as a ghostly 3D spectre as seen as the 2014 Nantucket Project in Massachusetts in September.
Brand also used the Trews to campaign to save the New Era housing estate in east London, which resisted plans by US investors to evict dozens of families from their homes in order to build an up-market development.
Brand said he had been thanked by people across the world for creating The Trews and was now going away to learn and return with a "more truthful, more inclusive" product.
"We're going to need it because the world is going mental," he added. "I've not gone mad or nothing, [...] I'm going away to think and to learn, because it's worth it and there is a possibility of change.
"Trew be continued. We will be ending on a bad pun. Goodbye for now."