Rumble, a Canadian-founded video platform has rejected a request from a British parliamentary committee to prevent comedian Russell Brand from monetizing his content on the platform while sexual assault claims are probed.
Rumble, which has offices in Toronto, says it supports a probe into Brand as well as ‘free internet.’
Russell Brand is accused of rape and sexual assault, according to a collaborative investigation by three British news organisations. Four women have accused Brand of sexually assaulting them at the height of his celebrity, which he denies.
Rumble, a Toronto-based company, called the request from the chair of the House of Commons media committee “extremely disturbing” and stated that it would not “join a cancel culture mob.”
“We regard it as deeply inappropriate and dangerous that the U.K. Parliament would attempt to control who is allowed to speak on our platform or earn a living from doing so,” the firm said in a statement.
Dame Caroline Dinenage, Conservative Party chair of the culture, media and sport committee, addressed the government request to Canadian CEO Chris Pavlovski.
“While we recognise that rumble is not the creator of Mr. Brand’s content, we are concerned that he may profit from his content on the platform,” she said. The committee sent similar letters to the leaders of TikTok and Meta, the owner of Facebook and Instagram.
Despite this, Pavlovski stated on social media in response to the request, “the attacks on Rumble are relentless, from all angles, and accelerating.”
“Having the support of the people to defend what’s right (constitutional values) is all I need to keep taking punches and moving forward,” he explained.
YouTube, the Google-owned video platform, announced on Tuesday that monetization of Brand’s account, which has 6.6 million followers, had been halted due to “serious allegations.”
In addition, the BBC pulled some of Russell Brand’s content from their streaming library.
In its reaction to Dinenage, Rumble stated that it “stands for very different values” than YouTube, especially “the vital cause of defending a free internet.”
Rumble’s statement began by emphasising that it “obviously deplores sexual assault, rape, and all serious crimes” and that “both alleged victims and the accused are entitled to a full and serious investigation.”
Russell Brand, 48, disputes sexual assault charges made by four women in a Channel 4 television documentary and The Times and Sunday Times newspapers, including one who claims she was 16 at the time of the alleged occurrence. Another woman claims Brand raped her in 2012 in Los Angeles.
The four allegations are from 2006 to 2013. Since those allegations became public, the Metropolitan Police in London has received a report of a separate sexual assault from 2003.
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Pavlovski attributes much of the platform’s success to a rise in interest among Americans dissatisfied with what they perceive as restrictions by giant social media tech firms.
Previous investments included libertarian venture capitalist Peter Thiel, former Donald Trump adviser Darren Blanton, and Ohioan J.D. Vance, the former venture capitalist and Hillbilly Elegy author who was eventually elected to the United States Senate in 2022.
Rumble’s participation skyrocketed in 2020, as right-wing American pundits flocked to the site during a volatile election year and amid outrage about COVID-19 limits. Following the 2020 presidential election, election conspiracy content exploded on the site.
In contrast to YouTube, Rumble has continued to broadcast content from Russia’s state-controlled RT News since the invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.
Rumble stated in late 2022 that it had 78 million active monthly users worldwide, with 63 million in the United States and Canada.
Rumble built its American offices in Sarasota, Fla., earlier this year, and it has signed streaming and cloud services arrangements with the Trump-backed Truth Social platform.