A YouTube exec has said disgraced comedian Russell Brand should not be able to “make a living” through the platform but added YouTube currently has no plans to ban him.
Pedro Pina, YouTube’s EMEA VP was appearing in conversation with Channel 4 boss Alex Mahon at the Royal Television Society conference in Cambridge, U.K, on Wednesday when Mahon asked him about the decision to turn off monetization of Brand’s YouTube channel.
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“Essentially he is not able to make a living through YouTube,” said Pina. “We don’t believe that should happen.”
Brand, a comedian and actor who has appeared in films including “Rock of Ages” alongside Tom Cruise, was the subject of a lengthy joint investigation by The Times of London, The Sunday Times and Channel 4 documentary strand “Dispatches” which alleged that Brand raped or sexually assaulted four women at the height of his fame. Brand has strongly denied the allegations.
Pina stopped short of saying that Brand should be banned from YouTube, however. “We don’t tolerate harmful content,” Pina said. “Right now, from our point of view, we don’t have harmful content by Russell Brand.”
He added that there had been an “incident in the past” where Brand was accused of spreading “medical misinformation” and YouTube took action in that situation. “If we find out over the next days, weeks, there is more reason to take more action, we will see,” said Pina.
Mahon asked whether removing Brand’s ability to monetize his channel would also impact his reach but Pina said YouTube’s algorithm did not prioritize channels with advertising. “The recognition engine finds the content you are looking for, what you’re interested in, what your passions are,” he explained.
Brand boasts over 6 million followers on his eponymous YouTube channel, where he posts videos with titles such as “Bill Gates Has Been HIDING This And It’s ALL About to Come Out” and “So…Trump Just Changed EVERYTHING With This Move.”
On Friday, the day before the “Dispatches” documentary aired, Brand attempted to get ahead of the allegations by posting a statement to his YouTube denying the claims made in the investigation. In a video titled “So, This Is Happening,” Brand said he “absolutely refutes” the “litany of astonishing, rather baroque, attacks.” The video has racked up almost two million views in four days.
Following the allegations over the weekend YouTube was among a number of platforms — including Channel 4 and the BBC — that took action.
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