Russell Brand has urged his followers to support him financially by paying a subscription fee on a video platform popular with right-wing streamers.
The comedian’s appeal for subscribers on Rumble came in a live stream just hours after the Metropolitan Police said it had opened an investigation into a “number of allegations of sexual offences” it had received against Brand in London as well as elsewhere in the country.
Brand has been accused of rape, assault and emotional abuse between 2006 and 2013, when he was at the height of his fame and working for the BBC, Channel 4 and starring in Hollywood films, following a joint investigation by The Times, Sunday Times and Channel 4’s Dispatches.
The allegations saw YouTube block Brand from making money via advertising on his channel, which has 6.6 million followers, saying he had violated the platform’s policies.
He has repeatedly denied all allegations, insisting that his relationships have always been consensual.
Brand addressed his followers on Rumble on Monday shortly after the Met Police statement was issued. He urged them to become paying subscribers to his channel at an annual cost of $60 (£49).
"You now know that I have been demonetised on YouTube... fully well aware that the government wrote to social media platforms to demand that I be further censored," he said during the live broadcast, an apparent reference to a letter written not by the government but rather by the chair of a parliamentary committee. In it, Dame Caroline Dinenage asks if Rumble will be following in YouTube’s example and cutting Brand off from advertising revenues.
Rumble rejected the suggestion from Dame Caroline and posted its response online. "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," Rumble chief executive Chris Pavlovski said.
"We emphatically reject the UK parliament's demands."
Brand joined Rumble in September 2022, after receiving repeated warnings from YouTube over his mostly Covid-related videos. He claimed Rumble was a better platform for his content, as it advertises looser restrictions and a steadfast “resist censorship” ethos.
In his livestream titled ‘ARE WE BEING SILENCED!? The Battle For Free Speech”, Brand criticised the legacy media and how the recent allegations have “affected him”.
"The global media war against free speech is in full swing, how do I know? Take a guess," Brand said on his Monday broadcast.
"Today, of course, we’re talking about events of the last week but, in particular, the collusion between big tech and government and an apparent concerted effort by legacy media and now the state and big tech to silence independent media voices.
"Obviously, it’s difficult for me to be entirely objective given the events of the past week but that’s what we’ll try to do."
During the show, he read out a report from far-left website GrayZone that suggested YouTube's censorship of Mr Brand was "driven by direct British government decree".
A number of large companies, such as Burger King, Asos, the Barbican and HelloFresh, have pulled their advertisements from Rumble in the wake of allegations against Brand, The News Movement reported.