Elon Musk and Russell Brand

Elon Musk has been contacted by a British MP to ascertain whether he, as the owner of X, has “personally intervened” in any decisions about Russell Brand’s status on the platform.

Last week Brand was accused of rape and sexual assaults alleged to have taken place between 2006 and 2013. The comedian, TV host and wellness guru has denied all allegations.

Now, Culture, Media and Sport Committee chairwoman Dame Caroline Dinenage has written to several video hosting sites and social media outlets to ask whether Brand can make “profit from his content” on its platforms [via Evening Standard].

On Tuesday (September 19) YouTube announced that it had “suspended monetisation” on Brand’s channel due to “violating” its “creator responsibility policy”. It’s not known if this was prompted by Dinenage.

In her letter, Dame Caroline also pointed to a response by Musk after Brand posted a video on Friday (September 15) in which he denied the allegations.

Musk reacted to Brand’s denial, which saw the comedian claim that the media had enacted a “coordinated attack” against him, by tweeting: “Of course. They don’t like competition.”

The Tesla CEO also stated on X that he “support[s] Russell Brand. That man is not evil”.

Addressed to X (formerly known as Twitter) chief executive Linda Yaccarino, Dinenage wrote: “We would be grateful if you could confirm whether Mr Brand monetises his content and, if so, we would like to know whether X intends to join YouTube in suspending Mr Brand’s ability to earn money on the platform.

“Given Elon Musk’s response to Mr Brand’s tweet regarding the allegations, where he wrote ‘Of course. They don’t like competition’, we are also keen to understand whether Mr Musk has personally intervened in any decisions on Mr Brand’s status on the platform.

“We would also like to know what X is doing to ensure that creators are not able to use the platform to undermine the welfare of victims of inappropriate and potentially illegal behaviour.”

The key concern indicated by Dame Caroline’s letter is whether Brand can “profit from his content” on X.

At the time of writing, Brand stands accused and no arrests have been made by the Metropolitan Police, which confirmed that it is investigating the claims against him.

Brand has 11.2million followers on X. He also has 1.4million followers on the right-wing video platform Rumble and 3.8million followers on Instagram (owned by Facebook company, Meta).

A similar query was sent to video-based social media site TikTok. Brand has 2.3million followers on the app, however, a company executive confirmed that the TV star isn’t part of its content creator monetisation programme,

Theo Bertram, vice president of public policy Europe at TikTok, said that TikTok is “committed to providing a space that embraces gender equity, supports healthy relationships, and respects intimate privacy”.

The platform bans accounts from those found to have committed serious offences.

Brand has never been part of its content creator monetisation programme, called the TikTok Creator Fund, Bertram clarified. “As with all content on our platform, we continue to keep Mr Brand’s content under review and will remain vigilant in this regard,” he added.

On Tuesday (September 19) Acast said that it had turned off advertisements on Brand’s Under The Skin podcast as well as his YouTube account.

Meanwhile, Rumble said in a statement on X yesterday (September 20) that its video site “deplores sexual assault, rape and all serious crimes” but that the allegations against Brand have “nothing to do” with the platform.

“We don’t agree with the behaviour of many Rumble creators, but we refuse to penalise them for actions that have nothing to do with our platform,” the statement read.

Yesterday (September 20) Musk replied to a shared post of Rumble’s response, which showed Dame Caroline’s letter, by writing: “Outrageous behavior by this minister of censorship!”

He also wrote yesterday that Brand is “not suspended on this platform [X]”, adding that “innocent until proven guilty” is a “wise and fair maxim”.

In related news, Brand was reportedly dropped from Comedy Central’s Roast Battle after being accused of being a “sexual predator” during recording.

The post Elon Musk questioned by MP about Russell Brand Twitter status appeared first on NME.


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