The boot boys of the red-top and mid market tabloid brigade – for which, read the Sun and Daily Mail – have recently been passing severely adverse comment on Russell Brand for having the sheer audacity to help campaigners fighting the threatened eviction of 93 tenants from the New Era Estate in east London, including the delivery of a 294,000 name petition to 10 Downing Street.
Who f***ing says my journalists misbehave, c***?!? Er, with the greatest of respect, Mr Jay
Earlier this year, the estate was taken over by US-based Westbrook Partners. Brand’s intervention, though, rather than garnering praise for his taking time out to help the less fortunate, only made the tabloid attacks ratchet up even further. He was condemned as a hypocrite for renting a property from a landlord who, it has been alleged, avoids UK tax.
The Mail was particularly harsh; meanwhile the Sun, as I pointed out earlier this month, stood accused of its own hypocrisy. But one thing was certain: the press was not going to let Brand off the hook. His celebrity sold papers, even when they were kicking him. The Mail sent a reporter to doorstep him. And then, despite what happened afterwards, the attack dogs went quiet.
When Neil Sears posted his business card through Brand’s letterbox, events did not turn out as he might have expected. As Press Gazette noted, “Sears approached Brand outside his home. After being given the impression that Brand would be making a comment, Sears waited outside the building only for Brand to emerge and throw a packet of curry sauce at Sears hitting his hair, face, tie and suit”.
Suddenly he's not in the Mail ... why?
Worse was to come: Brand then posted a Tweet showing the business card, with none of its details redacted. This is against Twitter’s rules. The Tweet was later deleted and Brand apologised – something the Mail finds difficult to do. There was condemnation from Isabel Hardman of the Spectator, and Piers Morgan, who just happens to now work for the Mail.
However, and here we encounter a significantly sized however, the question has to be asked – what is the difference between what Brand did with that business card, and the Mail’s practice of publishing photos of its targets’ houses? And what is the difference between his act and the Mail’s practice of also publishing details of family members, their relationships, their occupations, and whatever else it can find?
And, on top of that, why has the Mail come over all silent? Anything that the paper can categorise as bad behaviour is usually converted into a combination of righteous indignation and character assassination in short order. Brand said “they’re bothering me mum”. Sears’s comments do not mention this. What was the Mail really up to? Something does not add up here. But it will when the facts emerge.
The legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre may be in trouble. Serves him right.