Are accusations sufficient to ruin someone’s life and take away their ability to earn a living? This seems to be the case with actor and podcaster Russell Brand, as there is a fervent effort to demonetize him on various online platforms. Brand has been accused of serious sexual offenses, but he has not been formally charged with any crime. It is important to remember that an accusation alone should not result in the termination of someone’s career.
In our current world, it is common for people to take sides, make snap judgments, and form opinions based on headlines alone. We might find ourselves caught up in a frenzy, whether we love or hate someone, believe they are innocent or guilty. This tendency was exacerbated during the MeToo era, where serious allegations of sexual misconduct were mixed with trivial offenses and resulted in disproportionate consequences for individuals like comedian Norm Macdonald.
The focus should not solely be on whether we believe Brand or his accusers. Instead, we should emphasize the importance of having a fair process in our public life. An accusation should not automatically lead to the end of a person’s career. While YouTube has suspended Brand’s ability to earn money on their platform, it is crucial that we criticize this decision as deeply wrong. Private companies should not have the power to harm individuals based solely on accusations. We should care even if we are not celebrities like Brand and do not depend on platforms like YouTube for our livelihoods. Who knows what else private companies can do to you simply because of an accusation?
The example of Brandon Jackson, highlighted by the Tablet website, demonstrates the potential consequences of accusations. Jackson, who is black, was accused of making a racist comment by an Amazon delivery driver. As a result, Amazon shut down his account, not only preventing him from receiving packages but also disabling the automated features of his home that he had set up using Alexa. Jackson’s story could have had even worse repercussions if it had reached his employer, who might have felt compelled to fire him solely based on one person’s word.
Returning to Brand, it is not sufficient that YouTube has demonetized him. There is now pressure for other platforms to do the same. The British government even sent a letter to YouTube competitor Rumble, urging them to demonetize Brand as well. However, Rumble responded by emphasizing that the allegations against Brand have no connection to their platform and that they believe in a full investigation before passing judgment. It is concerning that a supposedly free country like Britain would pressure a private company to punish someone it dislikes.
This situation should worry anyone who values freedom, as we have already seen instances in America where private companies have been manipulated by external forces. For example, the FBI pressured Twitter to suppress the New York Post’s reporting on Hunter Biden’s laptop. It is essential that we resist the temptation to join cancel culture and instead prioritize doing what is right as a society. In this case, the right thing to do is to wait for the accusations against Brand to be properly investigated before rushing to judgment.