Russell Brand’s comedy shows postponed amidst sexual abuse allegations
Comedian Russell Brand is facing fallout from sexual assault allegations as his agency dropped him and promoters are postponing his live comedy shows.
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Comedian Russell Brand has been accused of rape, sexual assault and abuse by four different women. Brand has denied the allegations and said all of his relationships have been consensual. As news headlines and fans alike unpack the accusations, one name keeps making its way into the conversation: Katy Perry.
Perry and Brand have been divorced for more than a decade, and she has made comments in the past that raised eyebrows about how he treated her during their brief marriage. But her name climbed in Google searches Monday, and dozens of articles were published rehashing her relationship with Brand.
More often than not, when men are accused of horrifying things, many look to the women closest to them and anxiously await comment. Even if the story has nothing to do with them.
“Speak up Katy !! #RussellBrand you have to (speak up) for ALL women these are predators who abuse,” one X (formerly known as Twitter) user wrote.
Demand for Perry to publicly respond reflects the impossibility of women’s position in a culture of rampant sexual violence. Women are more likely than men to be sexually abused, but they are also expected to speak out against that violence in ways men are not.
“What Russell Brand did during their marriage (and outside of the marriage) is not for Katy Perry to have to answer for,” says Anna Marcolin, a psychotherapist and personal development life coach. “The only person who has a duty and obligation to speak about this is Russell Brand.”
Why are we talking about Katy Perry right now?
Brand married Perry in 2010 after meeting on the set of “Get Him to the Greek” in 2009. The two divorced in 2012, with Perry claiming in her June 2013 Vogue cover that Brand asked for a divorce over text.
“At first when I met (Brand) he wanted an equal, and I think a lot of times strong men do want an equal, but then they get that equal and they’re like, I can’t handle the equalness. He didn’t like the atmosphere of me being the boss on tour,” Perry said in 2013. “So that was really hurtful, and it was very controlling, which was upsetting. I felt a lot of responsibility for it ending, but then I found out the real truth, which I can’t necessarily disclose because I keep it locked in my safe for a rainy day.”
It’s worth noting that some of the allegations against Brand include the period of when he and Perry were married. And Perry, too, has faced a sexual misconduct accusation.
But does that mean she owes anything to the public?
“The perception is that women are responsible for protecting other women. … We do expect them to take more responsibility and ownership for the actions of others,” Laura Palumbo, communications director at the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, previously told USA TODAY. “But we don’t expect men to empathize with all of the painful experiences of women. Whenever men are vocal and stand up in a positive way, it seems like they’re going above and beyond.”
Nicole Bedera, a sociologist who studies how colleges cover up sexual violence, previously told USA TODAY the patriarchal aspects of our society make it “so that no matter what men do, it’s women who are the ones burdened by their actions, whether the burden is sexual trauma or having to cover up for what they’ve done or take the heat for what they’ve done. We put the burdens of sexual violence on women in every case.”
What sex abuse allegations mean for those who speak out
One woman alleged Brand raped her, while three others accused him of sexual assault, according to a joint investigation from The Sunday Times, The Times of London and Channel 4’s “Dispatches.” One of the women also said he had been physically and emotionally abusive.
Following the rise of the #MeToo movement and a societal shift regarding the importance placed on consent, many people have dealt with someone they know, socialize with or even love being accused of inappropriate behavior. And sometimes that person is a public figure.
Russell Brand allegations mount: Comedian dropped from agent, faces calls for investigation
‘Ever-evolving social reckoning’
During the 2020 presidential election, Stacey Abrams, a national name in the Democratic Party and a current Georgia gubernatorial candidate, was asked to respond to sexual assault allegations against then-presidential candidate Biden. Abrams said “women deserve to be heard,” but also that “I believe Joe Biden.”
Bedera recalled some survivors saw Abrams’ response as not going far enough. Others empathized with the double bind she was in.
Perhaps our time is better spent analyzing why Abrams was asked the question in the first place.
The same goes for our discourse on Perry: “What’s most important is what Katy Perry thinks and what she expects of herself,” Marcolin adds. “She can respond, react, say something, write something – whatever she wants. But her responding would be her choice and in no way holds her culpable.”
Palumbo hopes as more survivors continue to come forward, the public will increasingly demand that men have an opinion about sexual violence too.
“We’ve been in this ever-evolving social reckoning,” she previously explained, “and we’re coming to terms with the fact that sexual harassment, assault and abuse are as pervasive as the statistics have always told us that they are.”
Contributing: Alia Dastagir, Naledi Ushe and The Associated Press
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