Russell Brand either doesn’t know his Mark Twain or has chosen to ignore it.
The author of Tom Sawyer and other classic books famously said, “Never pick a fight with people who buy ink by the barrel.”
The British comic has done just that, starting a quarrel in print with the press baron Rupert Murdoch. The Get Him to the Greek star is livid over a story printed in The Sun on Sunday, one of the Australian-born media tycoon’s British newspapers.
Brand wrote a vituperative but also scathingly funny column at the end of last week in The Guardian, a non-Murdoch-owned British paper. In it, he excoriated Murdoch for allowing the Sun to run a story in which a model named Sophie Coady–for her NSFW Tumbler page, click here–claimed that she and Brand had been carrying on during the same period that he had announced he was involved with a new girlfriend, Jemima Khan, a well known London socialite, writer, editor and film producer. (Khan was previously married to Pakistani cricket star turned politician Imran Khan and dated actor Hugh Grant.)
Brand said the paper had “falsely claimed that I cheated on my girlfriend.” (He has never named Kahn, though she was identified as his new girlfriend in other press stories. Kahn herself has, in the past two months, begun frequently tweeting about Brand or retweeting his tweets.)
Brand lambasted Murdoch as “an animatronic al-Qaida recruitment poster” and “the Aussie-Skeletor” and gleefully recounted yet again the phone hacking transgressions and other wrongs that Murdoch’s now closed News of the World and other papers have committed in the past.
Murdoch, who’s active on Twitter, has yet to respond to Brand’s assault, but the Sun did. Using the headline, “20 Reasons why Russell Brand is the biggest hypocrite in England,” the paper published a by-the-numbers list pointing out inconsistencies between Brand’s statements and his actions. According to the Sun, these include criticizing big business but then flogging in ad campaigns the products, including HP’s TouchPad tablet, manufactured by major corporations.
Brand fired off a riposte via Twitter, tweeting, “The S*n call me a hypocrite on their website for attacking them. For this story they’ve removed their pay wall. Now that’s hypocrisy.”
We eagerly await the next chapter.
Do you think Russell Brand has reason to be angry?