As a creep

Debbie Schipp of the Daily Telegraph (Australia) on Russell Brand’s blatant contempt for women and how long it went unrebuked:

I don’t know if Russell Brand is guilty of the specific rape and sexual assault and harassment claims being levelled against him. I do know I’m surprised that it’s taken this long for him to be called out as an allegedly predatory and controlling creep.

I do know that when I walked out of a one-on-one interview (actually, there was one of me, and then him and the tittering entourage he played to in the room) with Brand more than a decade ago, I’d just met a very unprofessional and decidedly ordinary human being.

I’d been witness to — and the subject of — a Russell Brand performance he’d spent countless press tours perfecting which featured a specialist misogynist using a facile, lowbrow stunts dressed up as humour to disarm and humiliate women trying to go about their jobs and remind them he was in charge.

It’s so easy to picture, just from that. We’ve all seen the kind of thing. We’ve all been targets of it from co-workers and the like.

I’d been told by other female journalists who’d had the dubious pleasure of interviewing Brand how it would go. Russell would pick a feature … your boobs, your legs, your butt, the length of your dress, early in the meeting. It would be masked as a compliment, and then it would get creepy, unprofessional and uncomfortable as he’d inevitably riff on it again and again.

I had written sport for ten years before I switched to entertainment, and in that round had met a thousand Russell Brands: blokes who didn’t like that a female would have the audacity and temerity to write about serious subjects like racing and rugby league.

And it’s so easy to let those pesky women know how contemptible you find them. So easy and so without consequences.

I had plenty of time to watch other journos emerge from their time with him. The majority of them were women. Stony-faced. I can’t recall what he was selling on that trip to Australia. But within seconds it was clear it wasn’t professionalism. As I walked in and offered my hand to shake his, he looked me up and down, carefully assessing me, then slowly met my eyes.

“Hello, Debbie Schipp,” he said, a faint mocking tone as he used my full name and his gaze returned to my legs.

He went on to persist in running away from the interview to talk to random people passing by, until Schipp had had enough and left.

I’d admired the irreverent and offbeat Brand as an entertainer with a formidable intellect who went where few dared, and skewered with smart humour. Resorting to lame commentary on a woman’s physical attributes and palming it off as a joke was lazy humour. Easy pickings. Not the slightest bit clever. I thought he was edgier than that.

It wasn’t funny then. It’s not funny now. Russell, the position you find yourself in now isn’t some mysterious plot engineered by faceless powerful people and angry women to bring you down. You did that all by yourself.

H/t Rev David Brindley

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