Glenn Greenwald
Politics • Writing • Culture
Using Russell Brand as Pretext, UK Govt & US Media Launch Multi-Pronged War on Rumble
Video Transcript
September 27, 2023
post photo preview

Watch the full episode here: 

placeholder

Podcast: Apple - Spotify 

Rumble App: Apple - Google


Good evening. It's Monday, September 25. Welcome to a new episode of System Update, our live nightly show that airs every Monday through Friday at 7 p.m. Eastern, exclusively here on Rumble, the free speech alternative to YouTube. 

Tonight: So crucial is the online censorship regime to Western power centers that one thing is certain – any individual or company that even thinks about defying it will be severely attacked and punished, often with weapons we have long been taught to regard as despotic when used by our nation's enemies. And that is exactly what is currently happening to Rumble – the video platform and YouTube alternative that we chose to leave Substack to produce our show here precisely due to its simultaneous ability to reach large audiences while proving its willingness to defend online free speech even if doing so means confronting some of the world's most powerful institutional actors. What attracts us to Rumble and makes us regard it as so important is what makes it so threatening to these institutional actors now launching a war – there's no other way to describe it – against the platform.

Although we've been long expecting and warning that Rumble would come under sustained attack if it were really serious about its refusal to bow to this censorship industrial complex, and even though we have been warning that the attacks are likely to be extreme, we are shocked by how quickly and aggressively this escalation has happened over the last week and how extreme are the legal threats and other forms of punishment that have already arrived with almost certainly worse ones on their way.

Last week, as we covered at length on Monday night's show, the comedian, actor and political commentator, Russell Brand, was accused through media outlets by four anonymous women of various acts of alleged rape, sexual assault and other types of emotionally controlling behavior. 

All of these alleged acts took place at least a decade ago with the most recent one being in 2013, ten years ago. None of the alleged victims filed any police complaint at the time or as of the time of these media accusations, at least none that we know of. And our argument on Monday was as simple as it was – we thought – self-evident:  nobody should assume the truth of these unproven accusations; both Brand and his accusers are entitled to full due process, including adversarial scrutiny of their claims, and that no punishments are justifiable against Brand until such an investigation has concluded and a reliable finding of guilt or innocence has issued by a competent judicial body. 

That's all basic, uncontroversial stuff. Or so we would have thought. As we have repeatedly seen, however, most liberal institutions of power in the West no longer even pretend to affirm basic precepts of due process, just as they barely feign support any longer for foundational concepts of free speech. The day following the emergence of these allegations against Brand in the media, Google's YouTube announced that it was demonetizing all of Russell Brand's future videos and past ones, in other words, denying him the ability to earn a living the way he's been earning a living, producing video content primarily for Rumble but also for YouTube, without any warning, let alone a hearing of any kind or any adjudication of guilt. In the following days, an absolute caricature of a British elite absurdity a Tory MP named Dame Caroline Dinenage, who is also the Baroness Lancaster of Kimbolton, wrote to multiple media outlets and tech platforms, including Rumble and TikTok, demanding that Brand be banned and or demonetized – a government official demanded punishment against a subject of the crown who has never been accused formally of anything, let alone convicted. The dame also demanded answers to a variety of questions about how Brand is compensated and what plans exist to cut up all of his revenues, again, all based on nothing, even an accusation brought in court, just ones expressed anonymously by people through the media. Most media outlets and tech platforms, predictably, though, alarmingly complied with the demands. Indeed, YouTube did so before she even asked but Rumble chose a very different course. It publicly and emphatically refused to comply, noting that Brand had never been convicted of any crime and that Rumble is not competent to adjudicate his guilt or innocence, just like it's not competent to adjudicate truth and falsity in our nation's most complex political and scientific debates and that, in all events, Rumble is little more than a free speech platform that permits citizens to speak and express themselves, provided that they abide by the law when doing so. Rumble did not just reject the Baroness's demands but made clear how dangerous and despotic they viewed her implicit threat. 

For that defiance, that very public defiance, the British government, the U.S. corporate media and the British media have launched a full-on assault on Rumble, obviously determined to punish it and make it an example for its refusal to obey the West censorship regime. Articles from liberal outlets like the Associated Press instantly appeared citing its usual self-proclaimed disinformation experts, claiming Rumble was a vector of hate speech and dangerous disinformation. The Times, of London, the first to circulate the accusations against Brand, published an article warning that the nation's new online Safety Act could be used to banish Rumble from being accessed in the UK altogether. The Guardian and liberal activist groups like Media Matters working in partnership have always boasted of their success in pressuring corporate advertisers such as Burger King to disassociate itself from Rumble and cut off all ads again based solely on unproven accusations against one of the users on Rumble's platform. And perhaps most amazingly of all, one of the most influential British tabloids warned today that Rumble’s executives face the threat of arrest under this new online safety if they try to enter the UK without fully complying with these new censorship orders. 

We cannot emphasize enough, even though we try, that the central priority of liberal power centers in the West is this censorship regime that they have imposed. There is no greater priority for them, as they know they can no longer command trust from the public and not see a closed information system – one free of dissent – as vital to their power maintenance. Seeing what they are now doing to Rumble for the simple refusal of Rumble to comply with their censorship orders over Russell Brand when the platform did nothing more than invoke very basic and long-standing precepts of due process – and we are quite certain, by the way, that we are only at the beginning of the cycle of reprisal, not the end when it comes to both Russell Brand and Rumble – looking at all this is really vital to understanding how this regime is functioning and most importantly, how increasingly repressive they are becoming. 

For now, welcome to a new episode of System Update, starting right now.

Only for Supporters
To read the rest of this article and access other paid content, you must be a supporter
16
What else you may like…
Videos
Podcasts
Posts
Articles
Watch Tonight's Monologue

Due to a connection issue, our stream was cut short tonight.
You can find the entire episode below.

We apologize for this technical difficulty - thank you so much for your continued support.

00:43:24
Listen to this Article: Reflecting New U.S. Control of TikTok's Censorship, Our Report Criticizing Zelensky Was Deleted

For years, U.S. officials and their media allies accused Russia, China and Iran of tyranny for demanding censorship as a condition for Big Tech access. Now, the U.S. is doing the same to TikTok. Listen below.

Listen to this Article: Reflecting New U.S. Control of TikTok's Censorship, Our Report Criticizing Zelensky Was Deleted
WEEKLY WEIGH-IN: Let us know!

What’s happening in politics that you want to talk about? Are there any topics you think Glenn needs to cover? Any thoughts you’d like to share?

This post will be pinned to our profile for the remainder of this week, so comment below anytime with your questions, insights, future topic ideas/guest recommendations, etc. Let’s get a conversation going!

Glenn will respond to a few comments here—and may even address some on our next supporters-only After Show.

Thank you so much for your continued support of SYSTEM UPDATE with Glenn Greenwald! Have a great week!

🏆Dog-of-the-Week:

Dog-of-the-Week goes to KIERA. Our cute-as-can-be cohost got some rest while Glenn and Victor did the heavy lifting of answering our Weekly Weigh-In questions. But, she wasn’t the only one, Toby – seen in our second photo – also got to nap.

UPDATE: Alan Dershowitz vs. Glenn Greenwald at The Soho Forum
15 hours ago

I’m impressed with how well informed and how IFORMING some of the audience here is! Someone offered a list of reports from Al Jesera that includes a report on the current use of the floating aid port and how it’s being received from the perspective of Gaza and the international community. It’s really important to know about! Thanks to who did this!

post photo preview
As the Daily Wire Publicly Negotiated a Debate with Candace Owens, it Secretly Sought -- and Obtained -- a Gag Order Against Her
Due to a prior restraint order against Owens, the much-anticipated Israel debate with Ben Shapiro appears to be off.

On April 5, Candace Owens publicly invited her former Daily Wire colleague Ben Shapiro to a debate about "Israel and the current definition of antisemitism." It was Owens' criticisms of U.S. financing of Israel, and her criticisms of Israel's war in Gaza, that caused her departure from the Daily Wire two weeks earlier.

Both Shapiro and Daily Wire CEO Jeremy Boreing responded by saying they would like to arrange the debate requested by Owens. That night, Shapiro appeared to accept her offer, writing on X: "Sure, Candace. I texted you on February 29th offering this very thing." The Daily Wire co-founder added: "Let's do it on my show this Monday at 5pm at our studios in Nashville; 90 minutes, live-streamed."

After Owens objected to the format and timing, she and Boreing exchanged several tweets in which they appeared to be negotiating, and then agreeing to, the terms and format for the debate. Owens had suggested the debate be moderated by Joe Rogan or Lex Fridman. Shaprio said he wanted no moderator. They ultimately agreed to the terms, with Boreing offering a series of conditions, including a no-moderator debate, and with Owens publicly accepting

Two weeks later, many readers of both Shapiro and Owens noticed, and complained, that the debate had not yet happened. On April 24, Owens addressed those inquiries by explaining that the Daily Wire had yet to propose dates, while reiterating her strong desire to ensure the debate happened.

But the debate was never going to happen. That is because the Daily Wire -- in secret and unbeknownst to its readers -- sought a gag order to be placed on Owens after she had called for a debate. They did this under the cover of secrecy, before a private arbitrator, at exactly the same time that they were claiming in public that they wanted this debate and were even negotiating the terms with her. To this date, the Daily Wire has not informed its readers, seeking to understand why the much-anticipated debate had not yet happened, that they had sought and obtained a gag order against Owens.

When seeking a gag order to be imposed on Owens, the Daily Wire accused her of violating the non-disparagement clause of her agreement with the company. To substantiate this accusation, the company specifically cited Owens' initial tweet requesting a debate with Shapiro as proof of this disparagement, along with concerns she voiced that Shapiro appeared to be violating the confidentiality agreement between them by publicly maligning Owens's views to explain her departure from the company. While the company claimed before the arbitrator that it did not object in principle to a "healthy debate," it urged the imposition of a gag order on Owens by claiming that the way she requested the debate constituted disparagement of Shapiro and the site.

To justify the gag order it wanted, the company also cited various criticisms of the Daily Wire and Shapiro on X that Owens had "liked." This proceeding took place as part of an exchange of legal threats between the parties after the public agreement to debate about Israel was solidified. Those threats arose from the fact that various Daily Wire executives and hosts, in both public and private, were castigating Owens as an anti-Semite. On March 22, Daily Wire host Andrew Klaven published a one-hour video that hurled multiple accusations, including anti-Semitism, at Owens. The Daily Wire cited Owens' response to that video -- her defense of herself from those multiple accusations -- as further proof that she needed to be gagged.

The initial tweet from Owens not only requested a debate, but also included a video from the popular comedian Andrew Schulz, who had mocked the Daily Wire for firing Owens over disagreements regarding Israel, and specifically mocked Shapiro for his willingness to debate only undergraduate students. The tweet underneath Owens's original debate request included a summary of Schulz's mockery of Shapiro which stated: Schulz now "realizes Ben Shapiro is only good at debating college liberals & can’t win debates against serious competition." 

After the prior restraint hearing sought by the Daily Wire and Shapiro, the arbitrator sided with them and against Owens. The arbitrator agreed with the Daily Wire that Owens' call to debate Shapiro, and her follow-up negotiations of the debate, constituted "disparagement" of the company and Shapiro. The company argued that any further attempt by Owens to debate, as well her suggesting that the debate would expose the Daily Wire's real "priorities," constituted criticisms of the site and of Shapiro, criticisms that the arbitrator concluded Owens was barred from expressing under her contract with the company.

The arbitrator thus imposed a gag order of prior restraint on Owens. Among other things, the order banned Owens from saying or doing anything in the future which could tarnish or harm the reputation of the Daily Wire and/or Ben Shapiro. Given that the Daily Wire had argued, and the arbitrator agreed, that Owens' offers to debate Shapiro about Israel and anti-semitism were themselves "disparaging," the Daily Wire has ensured that the debate with Owens that they publicly claimed to want could not, in fact, take place. Any such debate would be in conflict with the gag order they obtained on Owens from expressing any criticisms of the site or of Shapiro.

When asked for comment to be included this story, Owens replied: I "wish I could comment on this but I can’t." She added: "can neither confirm nor deny."

Boreing said: "your story is inaccurate to the point of being false," though he did not specify a single inaccuracy, nor did he deny that the Daily Wire had sought and obtained a gag order on Owens at the same time they were publicly posturing as wanting a debate with her. The confirmation we obtained of all these facts is indisputable. Boreing added: "I’m sure you can appreciate how fraught a high profile break-up like this is. For that reason, we are trying to resolve our issues with Candace privately."

It certainly seems true that the Daily Wire is attempting to achieve all of this "privately." Nonetheless, Ben Shapiro has constructed his very lucrative media brand and persona based on his supposed superiority in debating, a reputation cultivated largely as a result of numerous appearances at undergraduate schools around the country where he intrepidly engages with students who are often in their teens or early twenties. Both Shapiro and the Daily Wire have also predicated their collective media brand on an eagerness to engage in free and open debate with anyone, and to vehemently oppose any efforts to silence people, especially those in media, from expressing their political views.

It was the imperatives of this media branding that presumably led the Daily Wire and Shapiro to publicly agree to a debate with Owens over Israel and anti-semitism in the first place. Indeed, when it became apparent early after the start of Israel's war in Gaza that Owens had major differences with Shapiro, Boering responded to calls from Israel supporters for Owens to be fired by proclaiming in November: 

[E]ven if we could, we would not fire Candace because of another thing we have in common - a desire not to regulate the speech of our hosts, even when we disagree with them. Candace is paid to give her opinion, not mine or Ben’s. Unless those opinions run afoul of the law or she violates the terms of her contract in some way, her job is secure and she is welcome at Daily Wire.

But a mere four months later, Owens, despite being of one of the company's most popular hosts, was out. The company had concluded that her increasingly vocal criticisms of Israel, opposition to U.S. financing of it, and her views on anti-semitism were incompatible with the Daily Wire's policies.

All of those issues would likely have been the subject of the public debate that Owens sought, and that the Daily Wire claimed to want. Instead, the Daily Wire has succeeded in obtaining a gag order that, on its face, prevents Owens, in advance, from questioning or criticizing both the Daily Wire or Shapiro in any way.

 

 

Read full Article
post photo preview
THE WEEKLY UPDATE: MAY 13-17
Weekly Newsletter

We are pleased to send you a summary of the key stories we covered last week on SYSTEM UPDATE. 

—Glenn Greenwald

Only for Supporters
To read the rest of this article and access other paid content, you must be a supporter
Read full Article
post photo preview
SYSTEM UPDATE RECAP: May 13-17
Weekly Recap

Welcome to the SYSTEM UPDATE recap: your weekend digest featuring everything we’ve covered throughout the previous week. 

 

Prefer to listen to your daily news analysis? Reminder that FULL episodes of SYSTEM UPDATE are available anywhere you listen to podcasts🎙️


MONDAY, MAY 13 - EPISODE 269

Jen Psaki's Lies Expose the Fraud of "Disinformation"; Israelis Endanger Americans and Block Humanitarian Aid

Full transcript available for paid supporters: HERE

 

WATCH THE EPISODE

Intro (7:26)

Queen of Disinformation (14:11)

Israelis Block Gaza Aid (47:32)

Outro (1:12:12)

 

TUESDAY, MAY 14 - EPISODE 270

House Prioritizes Israel Over Funding U.S. Government; Seinfeld Commencement Debacle Fuels Antisemitism Panic; PLUS: China and Hungary's Close Ties Explained

Full transcript available for paid supporters: HERE

 

WATCH THE EPISODE

Intro (10:29)

House Prioritized Israel Over U.S. (16:19)

Media Meltdown (48:28)

Hungary and China Strengthen Ties (57:50)

Outro (1:17:07)

 

Supporters-Only After Show for Tuesday, May 14

We moved to Locals for our supporters-only, interactive after show where Glenn shared his thoughts on some audience questions and comments:

6-xv006CMAnh-Zmdbdg27j2YkFpj0z9bpEqx_P_eawzPqz_E5BtmMp9yr1Bvx8j-mmSNmJMagWINrE9azube7dv48M1XCbq32ct8JbIjl_w29_ai70U2t4I8Ff4GXZxZzNLyPUoIaJo-hBa0RWybDjo

Available for paid supporters here

Want to join us every Tuesday and Thursday for this supporter-exclusive, live after show? Become a paid supporter here!

 

WEDNESDAY, MAY 15 - EPISODE 271

INTERVIEW: Professor Jeffrey Sachs on Ukraine's Failures, Israel's War in Gaza, China, and More

Full transcript available for paid supporters: HERE

 

WATCH THE EPISODE

Intro (6:31)

Interview with Professor Jeffrey Sachs [13:12 - 1:10:23]

  • Ukraine (13:12 - 48:33)
  • Israel (48:34 - 58:40)
  • Columbia Student Protests (58:45 - 1:03:23)
  • China (1:03:24 - 1:10:23)

Outro (1:10:24)

Read full Article
See More
Available on mobile and TV devices
google store google store app store app store
google store google store app tv store app tv store amazon store amazon store roku store roku store
Powered by Locals