Publicist Breaks Down The 'Tried & True Propaganda Tricks' Russell Brand Used To Respond To His Allegations

When you break it down, Russell Brand's response is pretty transparent — and pulls from a well-worn PR playbook.

russell brand and publicist talking about the propaganda in his response to allegations Tinseltown / Shutterstock; @mollybmcpherson / TikTok

Any way you slice it, Russell Brand's response to the allegations of sexual assault against him seems pretty suspicious.

Responding to a deeply reported exposé with more than 100 sources by accusing the whole world of being out to get you isn't exactly the response of a man with nothing to hide. And that's before we even take into account the fact that Brand released his response before the blockbuster report laying out the allegations was even published. 


But publicist and professor Molly McPherson says there's far more to Brand's response that indicates it's obviously calculated, not to mention incriminating.

The veteran PR professional says Russell Brand's response to his allegations uses 'tried and true propaganda tricks.'

McPherson has been in the business of crisis communication for decades, working with international brands, celebrities, and the federal government. In an interview with Access Hollywood, she said Brand's response was an obvious attempt to distract from the allegations while also reassigning the blame to the media.

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McPherson thinks Brand's denial is likely a response to being rattled by fellow celebrity Danny Masterson being convicted on similar rape and sexual assault charges and receiving a combined sentence of 30 years in prison. Snd she says "denial isn't going to cut it."

But there is far more to Russell Brand's response than denial and, as she outlined in a recent TikTok, it bears all the hallmarks of an extensively planned attempt to manipulate not only the narrative, but the news cycle itself. 

McPherson says the timing of Russell Brand's response and his attempts to 'dehumanize' the allegations suggest he's been planning this for a very long time.

Given the sweeping scope of the story about the allegations against him, a joint effort between UK outlets The Times of London, The Sunday Times and Channel 4, it's all but certain Brand was given an opportunity to comment on their story — that's standard journalistic procedure. 

"That gave him time to put together a response," McPherson says in her TikTok, and the calculated approach he came up with is to "dehumanize" the story.




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"He doesn't talk about victims, he doesn't talk about people, he doesn't talk about women," McPherson said. "What he… diminishes it to is a letter and an email. That is the closest he is ever going to get to acknowledging that other people are a part of this."

He has also reduced the story to one of promiscuity gone wrong, which McPherson called "crafty" because it doesn't address any of the very graphic accusations and allows him to "brush them off."


This, combined with the timing of his response — on a Friday when, relative to the work week, the news cycle is winding down and the night before he had a show scheduled — allows him more control over what McPherson called a "counter-offense" with a highly calculated goal in mind.

McPherson says Brand is ultimately trying to manipulate social media algorithms in order to control the narrative about his allegations.

McPherson laid out a common two-pronged approach Brand seems to be using to achieve this goal: diversion and provocation. "The diversion is pointing everyone away from what happened… and the provocation is to get people all riled up."

RELATED: The Victim Impact Statements At Danny Masterson's Sentencing Emphasize Why Some Survivors Are Reluctant To Speak Out

In Brand's case, this means "riling up" the kind of people that have become the fanbase of his latter-day second career as a far-right, anti-vaxx, conspiracy theory content creator by leveraging the support of their other heroes like Elon Musk, Andrew Tate and Tucker Carlson, and uniting them around a common enemy — the supposedly evil "media."


McPherson says this "counterattack" is all to one end — gumming up the works to keep us all distracted with a second narrative. "What it's going to do is congest the algorithm on social media, so instead of it just being one story, like a Danny Masterson story… now we have a secondary audience."

So, will it work? McPherson says it won't be enough to counter allegations of this magnitude.

"It's a pretty strategic move," she said, "but long-term he's going to have to deal with the charges," especially since investigators will now be looking into the allegations and other victims may come forward as well. "While all of this is textbook PR strategy," McPherson concluded, "it's highly unlikely to work in his favor."


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John Sundholm is a news and entertainment writer who covers pop culture, social justice and human interest topics.