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Russell Brand accused of homophobia after saying: ‘Shut up you Harry Potter poofs’

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  1. Robert in S. Kensington 14 Jan 2014, 12:28pm

    Oh I can just hear the back-tracking on this one. On the other hand, I can hear the gay apologists telling us to get over it.

    1. Yep. You’re spot on . See George Coustou. The ‘get over it’ homophobes appeared after barely half a dozen comments.

    2. What’s a ‘gay apologist’? Anyway, get over it.

      1. A gay apologist is someone who thinks we should not speak out when spoken about, not make waves, not rock the boat, sit in the back of the room with our mouths shut and our eyes down. A gay apologist is an Uncle Tom fag.

  2. NickDavisGB 14 Jan 2014, 12:34pm

    Grow Up.

    1. Nick, to whom are you directing your “Grow Up”? To Brand, or to those who have objected to his utterance? It’s not clear.

      1. Those who have objected to his utterance, I hope. Though so far, there is no evidence whatsoever that anyone in attendance actually did, which renders this whole thing a complete non-story.

  3. I like Brand’s spontaneity, and we know that he has exhibited gutsy behaviour in confronting some homophobes, like those who run the Westboro outfit in the States. However, in this instance and from the context given it seems his spontaneity led him astray. He wanted to insult (no doubt only playfully) the college in question, and so, unfortunately, dropped to the level of using a homophobic slur. There’s no question about this. He dropped his guard and used a homophobic slur. As Robert has said, he’s going to have to back-track very hard on this one. But I would prefer to hear him offer a genuine apology.

    1. He was obviously trying to discriminate against those of a ‘different class’ – it’s still wrong.

  4. Georges Coustou 14 Jan 2014, 12:49pm


    1. Midnighter 14 Jan 2014, 1:22pm

      It isn’t a big deal, but that isn’t the same thing as “acceptable”.

      “Poof” is an accusation of something implicitly negative, defining the target as being part of the out-group. If the panel were all out and proud, then it might have been funny as they would have been in on the joke (in the same way that someone like Chris Rock uses potentially racist language safely because he’s part of the in-group).

      Casual insults based on sexuality are still as socially acceptable as racial slurs were a generation or two back (and I’m certainly not saying racism is dead and buried). I don’t think Brand should be vilified, but equally it should be noted that this isn’t acceptable and he should learn from it.

  5. The fact Brand used the slur “poof” especially if he let it slip out, would indicate that this word is part of his common vocabulary and may reveal suppressed homophobia. Most of us can rise above this ignorant slur but for some it must seem like piling on the hate. I just don’t “get” Brand, he is unfunny and comes across as a 6th form student to$$er.

  6. I can’t abide Russell Brand, but this is one of the most pathetic things I’ve read all week. Other than Charlie Bell, did anyone *actually* think Brand’s use of “poof” was meant to insult anyone? Really? Seriously? Good grief.

  7. Sounds like he slipped up, which is unfortunate.

    I’ve heard a few of my straight friends do the same over the years.

    We know he doesn’t hold homophobic views though

    1. You might have personal or magical insight, Tom, but please don’t tell us what ‘we’ know. I don’t know any such thing. So far Brand hasn’t let anything slip, perhaps. Now he has. So now ‘we’ know that he’s not only got, but is capable of airing, at least one homophobic view.

      1. Well, he’s often spoken out against homophobia.

        You are right that we can never really know what’s in another person’s head, but for ease of human interaction I tend to assume that somebody who has condemned homophobia on a few occasions and has voiced support for gay rights isn’t homophobic, just as I can assume my dad isn’t a spy and my sister hasn’t just been pretending to like chocolate all these years.

        Carelessly saying ‘poof’ isn’t automatically an indicator of homophobic views – It could easily be (and often is in the case of my friends) an indicator of careless use of language and the ubiquity of homophobic insults.

        Of course he could be a raging homophobe who’s just been faking it – but I tend to go for the simplest answer.

  8. It’s so casual. Top Gear and 8 out of 10 cats are worse than this and are consistently anti gay. I don’t know how they get away with it . I know we like to think of the USA as backwards but what these lot say would never be allowed on US TV

  9. This is a very tricky one.
    I mean, come on, he’s a comedian, and an extremely liberal one at that. We can all imagine how this played out (a flamboyant swing of the arm, a smirk, a resounding chuckle…) I’m inclined to believe this was an ironic use of language intended to get a laugh. He was talking to fellow liberal-minded students.

    Context is important. This was not expressed in hate, in anger or in malice, this was a comedian we all know as being perhaps the most liberal of them all, making a quip to fellow liberals for a laugh.

    I really do think we need to start picking our enemies more carefully and stop trying to attack anyone who ever says anything even in jest which might cause someone to wince. If we carry on like this, we’ll end up with people too scared to ever open their mouths, and too terrified to defend LGBT in media.

    1. colonelkira 14 Jan 2014, 1:36pm

      Very nicely put and accurate………far too much overreacting these days

    2. You’ve captured it just as I imagined he would do it.You wouldn’t choose someone as a winner and then be like “Nice crest you absolute c**t!” It was clearly meant as nothing more than a bit of a joke. To be honest, I never really read poof as being something definitively homophobic so I’m surprised he’s getting so much backlash for it.

    3. BlokeToys, I like Brand, as you obviously do. But while I can appreciate his intelligence and his spontaneity, I can also acknowledge his shortcomings. And he certainly has shortcomings. For one thing, although he appears to talk sense he’s poorly educated. Although he easily pronounces on all sorts of subjects, he’s not well read. Much of his act involves verbal dexterity, verbal “sleight of hand”, not logic or knowledge. And, I’m afraid, in the heat of the moment, this comedian uttered a homophobic slur. You’ve mentioned the context and I think that if we do consider that specific context, i.e. that there in that hall was a hardened professional comedian and who was likely to be fully in control of the moment, fully aware of what he was doing, what he was saying, what the effect of his performance would be, then it is unacceptable that he made this homophobic slip. There’s no way anyone can argue away the pejorative intentionality behind the accusation “Poof!”.

      1. So you would claim that a black male comedian on stage and using the “n word” is racist, without considering the context? I very much doubt that.

        When it comes to education, I feel obliged to point out that paper degrees mean little with regard to intellect. Stephen Fry didn’t find education until much later than people believe, after being imprisoned.

        Education, or lack thereof, is not an adequate indicator of intellect. I failed at school, dropped out when I was 15. I now own two businesses and write for a living.

        I agree that sometimes his flamboyant language is performance, but that’s a part of who he is. It’s really not so different to Eddie Izzard using his transvestism in a show. It’s part of his personality, and became part of his “act”.

        1. BlokeToys, back in his young student days Stephen Fry read English Literature at Cambridge University! And although as a child he had some emotional problems his education was thoroughly middle-class. And it has always shown. Even way back when he was in the Cambridge Footlights.

          Re. similar pejoratives, see my post much further down.

          1. Eddy, Fry attended Cambridge to study English AFTER being imprisoned for credit card fraud. Although you are correct that he enjoyed a thoroughly upper middle-class education prior, he still displayed utter idiocy and has even said himself that he didn’t apply himself before this. He credits Cambridge with giving him more than any institution before that, I believe.

            You seem to have a very strange concept of what intelligence means. It does not mean that a person is perfect, able to make rational decisions 100% of the time, able to think more clearly than everyone around them.

            You’re opinion is coming across as a little snobbish, suggesting that only those who conform to your notions regarding education can be intelligent people.

    4. I guess you’re not in school, hospital or vulnerable in anyway. The casual poof remark dosent really affect you. But if the person who thinks he’s only a poof is administering your medication or deciding if you get a place to live you’d think differently. We cannot joke until we are not murdered or abused for being who we are

      1. If the person was using it in malice, then I would agree.
        He’s called himself a poof in the past, when describing how others see him.

        Like it or not, there will always be people who see you as less than them, and it doesn’t have to be because of sexuality either.

        You’re imagining a utopia where everyone sees everyone as an equal, and while that is noble to wish for, it’s likely never going to be reality. Pick on the instances that actually DO risk such a thing, not a liberal comedian who uses a rather tame pejorative as comedy fodder to other liberals.

        Imagine how much time and effort is wasted on pointless “crusades” like this, while distracting from REAL threats to people in Russia, Nigeria, Jamaica, Uganda and so many other backward nations where peoples lives are genuinely affected by rampant violent homophobia.

  10. I’ll put up with the thumbing down I am bound to get for this. I’m not offended. All slang words associated with GLBTs have the potential to cause offence and if “poof” had been said by Jim Davidson I would certainly take offense. Brand is mischievous but is definitely an ally. It was irresponsible of him to use the word but I believe he was being ironic and I am not actually offended.

    1. Thing is, I would agree with you but for the fact that Brand using the word as an insult (however playfully) gives the go ahead for others to use it. And others would use it less playfully. I don’t think he’s homophobic but he really should think about some of the words he uses, outspoken comedian or not, and the effects it can have on people. Using the word ‘gay’ as an insult has made life hell for those in schools or living in areas that aren’t as Bohemian as the world Brand lives in. I really hope he apologises and makes the case in his usual eloquent way why insulting people with ‘poof’ is not such a great idea.

      1. Well said, Charlie. And I’m afraid that this incident inclines me to consider that his taking on the Westboro bigots, for instance, may indeed NOT have been so much about Brand being genuinely FOR LGBTs rights, but more about Brand being willing to adopt any stance that allows him to do a theatrical turn, be in the spotlight. After all, Brand has proven on numerous occasions that he likes to indulge in public performances akin to bear-baiting

  11. Pink News’s editorial model consists of telling us that we should be permanently outraged about something or other. Well, I for one am bored with this. I would respect Brand more if he refuses to apologise.

    1. Midnighter 14 Jan 2014, 2:54pm

      All news media is biased, hadn’t you noticed? I agree with you, this isn’t worthy of “outrage” but just remember that all apathy gets you is a ticket to Nigeria.


  13. How can anyone read the last paragraph of this story and not realise what a Tory bias this website has.

    Russell Brand made an offensive comment and Russell Brand correctly dislikes the homophobic Tories (most of whom think we arwb2nd class citizens).

    Perfect then for Pink News to engage in a Daily Mail style witch hunt while promoting Cameron and Gideon Osborne (and ignoring Tory bigotry).

    Pink News’ blatant Tory bias means it cannot be trusted on any issue.

  14. I wonder how much mileage there is in a Casual Homophobia collection, in the same vein as the Casual Sexism one…

  15. Brand is a vacuous self-publicist with a propensity to open his trap and think afterwards, if at all. An apology would be appropriate. A loss of public attention would be much more gratifying.

  16. I always hear gay people use this kind of language and although I find it unpleasant to hear, I’m constantly told that if you’re the in-group, you can use those kind of expressions that would be offensive coming from the out-group. If that is true, then I would suggest that anyone being openly pro-gay should be considered part of the in-group, that you don’t have to be gay to call someone a poof because you don’t harbour anti-gay views. I think we have moved past being an isolated gay only community. Many of the progresses we’ve made have come with the help of straight people who believe in equality (see recent legislation). Who are we to think we have more of a right to call someone else a poof?

    1. But Brand used the term as a general put-down in the students’ union – there was no element of the ‘in-group’ in the situation at all.

    2. To be honest, I never really thought of it as being an “in the group” thing but more of a context thing. I’ve had lots of friends who know I’m gay and who’ve cracked the occasional joke that might border on offensive, but in the context I know theirs no malicious intent behind their words.
      When there is still so much malice in the world, I don’t see why we should be getting outraged at something that was meant as nothing more than a cheeky way to shut up a group of students who were being a bit loud. After all there are a lot more worse things he could’ve said, poof just happens to be something that (I at least thought until I read some outraged comments) was a light insult which started with a “p” like “potter”

      1. Oh, I think there’s often an unacknowledged malice behind ‘jokes’ that border on the offensive. I know it’s argued that it’s a way of joshing people into not taking themselves too seriously, but even that is usually a form of assertion – just as ‘jokingly’ nicknaming an overweight or large person “Jumbo” was once seen as innocent and acceptable (it’s neither).

      2. Evan you wrote that “I’ve had lots of friends who know I’m gay and who’ve cracked the occasional joke that might border on offensive, but in the context I know theirs no malicious intent behind their words”. I suggest to you that it’s easier and far more comfortable for you to say you “know there’s no malicious intent”. Taking that position means that you don’t have to take action. You don’t have to object. But I suggest to you that you don’t KNOW there’s no malicious intent behind your friends’ jokes bordering on the offensive. You just HOPE there’s no malicious intent. Or you just prefer to accept that there is no malicious intent.

        But that’s not the way the world works. What we say expresses what we believe. Fact. The moment we start accepting that people can say what they like and that we should never interpret people’s words as being genuine, we are all in trouble. This doesn’t mean that irony and sarcasm cannot continue to exist.

        1. Actually I know my friends. I keep very few and they are good people. They don’t bully other people, they don’t hurt other people be it physically or mentally. You can pretend that everyone in the world hates you, that there is malice intent in every joke that everyone makes to you and that everything people say is to be taken literally and at face value if that’s what gives you your daily kicks.
          However, I live in the real world with real people and real friends. I don’t know the kind of people that YOU hang out with but I’m going to stick with the people I know because obviously you live in a world surrounded by people you don’t :)

  17. Remember the Daily Mail witch hunt against Brand?

    What he said then was offensive but largely it was a means for the extreme right Daily Heil to attack the BBC.

    Now we see the proTory Pink News website concoct a witch hunt about some offensive but largely irrelevant comment by a Tory critic.

    Why does Pink News not simply be honest and admit it supports a party where over half the MPs think we are 2nd class citizens.

    This website and its agenda is right wing.

    1. That There Other David 14 Jan 2014, 3:24pm

      The Daily Mail witch hunt was motivated by his constant derision of Alison Boshoff (a DM journalist/columnist) on his Radio show. They don’t like Brand, he doesn’t like them. They also don’t like Jonathan Ross, to the point that they even accused Ross’s wife (screenwriter/producer Jane Goldman) of promoting paedophilia with her film Kick-Ass, all because they wanted to get at Ross himself. Nor do they like the BBC.

      So when Ross and Brand did something on a BBC show that the Daily Mail could whip up hysteria about they went all out to settle a few scores. I had to laugh though when Carol Thatcher ended up bearing the brunt of a similar witchhunt a few months later after others played the same tactics. The Mail didn’t like that at all. Eff ’em eh?

      Brand is no homophobe. His problem is that despite his brain running at a manic pace his mouth still moves faster.

      And I’m glad he doesn’t like the Tories. The Tories are nasty divisive privileged little snotbags.

  18. I’m not being funny, but Russell Brand is clearly an open and equal person. He’s often supported the gay community, just one look at the video of his interview with Westboro would demonstrate that.

    He’s a comedian, he let a word slip, but it’s hardly homophobia.. the gay community is far too touchy.

    1. I don’t think anyone in this thread has suggest that Brand is homophobic. The fact is that he uttered and exploited a homophobic slur. He played at being a homophobe for an instant. And although it was only for an instant, it was unacceptable. It was completely unnecessary. It was a reaching for a laugh from the bottom of the comedic barrel.

      I don’t hate or dislike women. But if I tell the female cashier who makes a mistake at the till tomorrow morning, “Oh, you really are a stupid little c**t, aren’t you!” that would be humour in extremely low taste. I would be exploiting sexist behaviour in the hope of a laugh. I think you would agree it would be unacceptable.

      1. Patrick Lyster-Todd 14 Jan 2014, 8:40pm

        Oh do get a grip. Enom (and a few others above) get it right. There are plenty of issues for those of us in the LGBT+ community who can be bothered to get off our ass and away from the safety of our laptop to be getting on with. Such as Nigeria and Russia and gay bullying in our own schools – not to mention dealing with the everyday homophobes in our society like soon to be Cardinal Nichols (does he have to give up his gold-encrusted mitre now – or does he get a new one?) Slagging off one of our few vocal straight supporters does none of us any good and, moreover, makes us look like the over sensitive twats that we can sometimes be. So, OK he used what some of us construe as an insensitive word to make an amusing point. So what? You really think that’s the defining criteria for what we should stand up against and what we shouldn’t?

        1. Patrick Lyster-Todd 14 Jan 2014, 8:45pm

          I should add – Pink News – could do better. Really. Choose someone else to have a subtle pop at. Preferably someone like that ghastly Tory MP who recently suggested that people living with disabilities should receive a lower rate of the National Minimum Wage than others over the age of 21. Sorry for veering off topic!

  19. Alex Frost 14 Jan 2014, 2:11pm


  20. I don’t think one should look at what was implied by the word, I think one should consider WHAT HE ACTUALLY WANTED TO CONVEY. I highly doubt Brand wanted to convey homophobia so let us all just get back to our lives.

  21. It does depend on context and intention. Since Mr Brand is such a flamboyant character who wears make up and high heels and supports equality-I would put him in the bracket of a post modern Lily Savage. No-one would throw a prancer’s jingle if Lily Savage (soz forget his name just now) said the same thing and most people would find it funny-esp in this context. Context and intention matters.

    1. No, JB, it is not correct to say that no-one would object if Paul O’Grady in the guise of Lily Savage had said the same thing. Back in the late 1980s many of us were not at all happy with a lot of Savage’s lines. O’Grady himself was eager to leave them in the gutter where they belong and rise to act in a far more acceptable manner. Alan Carr regularly utters homophobic words and phrases, and on these threads in the past there have been heated debates about his behaviour. I blame “Chatty Man” and people like him for popularising the notion that it is OK today to use homophobic slurs in common speech. Recently on these threads there was a report of a patient being sneered at by a nurse for wincing as a needle went in. She told him “Oh, don’t be such a poof!” She thought it was OK. It wasn’t. It was offensive. Enough such occurrences can push LGBTs over the edge. I suspect you’d agree that Brand saying “Shut up you rich Golders Green Jews!” would not be acceptable.

      1. Hi Eddy, I think you are coming from a good place and heading for a good place but might be missing the wonderful scenery in between. The history of gay, lesbian, trans and other so called minorities is vast and complex. All of us want to be treated with respect by wider society. At the same time, there are many traditions and cultures within cultures in our community. Retaining our humour and humanity in the face of bigotry has often involved reclaiming words and self referencing. When there are enough gay men who will happily call themselves poofs and gay women who will call themselves dykes (such words have been turned against us in the past) I think it is bland of you to say that those who choose to self reference in that way are in somehow contributing to homophobia.
        The fact that we are able to reclaim these words and use them with humour and in ways that are encoded into gay and lesbian and trans history who those who wish to understand such codes.

        1. Wise words, JB. Much is made of our reclaiming the word queer in the spirit of ‘sticks & stones will break my bones but words will never hurt me’. Aren’t we undermining that initiative if we take offense at a word many of us use affectionately? I would be the first to complain if it was used intentionally to offend Gay people. Brand is taking a liberty based on the fact the he knows – and others know – he is not a homophobe.

  22. Good thing his name is not Godfrey Bloom or this would be leading the BBC headlines..

    1. That There Other David 14 Jan 2014, 3:27pm

      The difference being of course that Bloom does actually see himself as better than us….and women….and everyone not born white British….and probably the Irish….and Catholics….etc. etc. etc.

      1. Interesting. No clue for you in his surname or his Polish (catholic) wife then? Or did you just make a stereotypical judgement because you don’t approve of his politics? Frankly I believe totally in freedom of speech because the alternate is a horror. That having been said at least Bloom (for whom I have no particular affection) is an democratically elected figure whereas Brand is simply a man who has made significant wealth (whilst preaching socialism for the rest of us) based on a pretty abusive comedy act and a platform to speak offered by the left wing establishment presumably trying to look edgy. I doubt very much that we will remember either of them in a decade.

  23. im gay and don’t find it offensive in the slightest it was obviously in jest and people everywhere use discrimination in jest all the time it says more about the people who cant read the tone of a comment and not the content of it in my opinion my best friend is mixed race friend she will make a homophobic comment and i will retort with a racist one we both laugh and carry on our conversation knowing it was a joke and no harm done this is obviously what Russell was doing

    1. But, Michael, I hope you would object if you heard:

      “Good Morning. Freaks” said to people with Downs Syndrome,

      “Hello, Spazzes!” said to people in wheelchairs

      “Hi Monkeys!” said to hall of black school-children.

      “Good Morning, Diseased Folk”, said to a waiting room of HIV+ patients.

      “Good Afternoon, you Nympho!”, to a woman known to have had several relationship.

      “Hi, Harry Potter Poofs!”

      Can you see the offensiveness now?

      1. I work with adults with severe disabilities as a speech therapist. One day, we had the local MP + others coming to observe a client using a communication device which he’d programmed himself. He did the usual ‘I want.. a drink’ functional boring stuff etc. and then I noticed a twinkle in his eye ‘ F**k off spastic’ said the computerised response and he laughed his head off, so did I. :)

        1. Just because someone with severe disabilities has been uses that self slur it does not give you the right to laugh, it is very possible that this person has been called that name so often he has taken to using it himself. Perhaps you should re-think the career choice.

          1. Not every Human on this planet thinks the way you do, has the same personality, the same sense of humor…

            I have met numerous disabled people who often mock their own condition too, this is not unusual or uncommon. It’s really no different to you picking out something that makes you unique and using it for humor, millions of people do this all the time.

            It’s called having a personality and a sense of humor.

            As a dedicated liberal leftie I really am disappointed with this discussion on here, for the first time in my life I am really agreeing with the sentiment often expressed by the right – this is Political Correctness gone mad, freedom of speech and opinion, etc.

            I wonder if this attitude to Brand is more about other political opinions he has, rather than the comedic quip people are attacking him for.

      2. it depends on how it was said as in the tone if you actually read my comment i do talk about the tone and you have failed to read mine all those in the right situation could be funny life isnt so black and white everything has its place at the right time we’ve all heard jokes about race sexual orientation etc that are funny and denying it is just redundant people who kick off when its unnecessary and generally aren’t part of the group that was targeted weaken the argument for when when true discrimination occurs

  24. David Boothroyd 14 Jan 2014, 3:33pm

    Factual correction time. Brand was speaking at the Cambridge Union Society, not the Cambridge Students’ Union (which doesn’t exist) nor the Cambridge University Students’ Union (which doesn’t run this sort of event).

  25. The thing that I find appalling is that he is described as a comedian. Comedians are supposed to be ‘funny’ and Mr Brand just isn’t funny!

    1. .. said the person with a poor sense of humour.

      1. So if you do not find RB funny you have a poor sense of humour? Really? If you find him funny good for you, however not everyone shares your opinion of him.

  26. The man is a mess; he’s not funny, erudite or even vaguely interesting.
    The fact that he’s so popular reflects the state of popular culture today and this being so, he should be more responsible both in what he says and how it is delivered.

    1. So, you you don’t think he’s funny, and everyone MUST find the same things as you amusing?
      I think the fact that such an opinionated, inquisitive and liberal person is so popular is a great thing!
      If anything, we need more role-models like him on TV. It’s better than seeing young people looking up to illiterate fools on TOWIE.

      1. Really? you are holding RB up as a role model for young people, do you know his history? I don’t think he was trying to be homophobic or that he in any way meant it as a slur on LGBT people, was it said without thinking? perhaps, was it in poor taste undoubtedly, should he apologise for saying it? of course he should. As to role model well if you want him for your role model whatever floats your boat, but for young people? It’s a resounding no from me

        1. I’m sorry, I thought you were liberal too. I was clearly wrong.

          So, you think people are irrelevant because they used to be a drug addict? What a very right-wing attitude to have. Yes, lets ignore the people who have ever taken a wrong turn in life, they are always scum after all, right?

          I judge people on their merits, their attitudes, their actions. I don’t judge people on their past.

          Compared to the vacuous and unintelligible people many youth find inspiration in, I think it’s great that some find inspiration in Brand. There’s a lot there to admire. He’s overcome substance abuse, he campaigns on those issues, he’s an outspoken critic of government, he’s a funny person, successful and unique.

          But yeah, he was a druggie, so I guess he’ll always be scum, right?

  27. Straight outta “Cassandra” calling Liberace a “fruit,” claiming that it means “effeminate” and not “homosexual” per se. “Cass” lost the libel suit, because in those days, it was accusing Liberace of being a criminal– so argued Liberace’s brief. You couldn’t say in those days, “Dude, that is ‘SO gay’!” or the equivalent 1950’s slang. After decriminalization in the late 60’s, things changed.

    We DO know Russell Brand was making the “femmy” point, right? That it is sometimes seemingly incongruous for “Joe Average” to be engaged in something that seems not to fit a particular gender stereotype? We DO know that “Dude, that is SO ‘gay’!” is so easily turned around on anyone who might say that phrase unironically, as soon as it is uttered– “Dude, that is SO ‘gay,’ to say something is ‘SO gay’!” Brand was winking at the audience, by >ironically< saying in effect, "Dude, that is SO 'gay'!"– at least for my money.

  28. Staircase2 14 Jan 2014, 6:03pm

    I can’t think of any ‘celebs’ less likely to be homophobic actually.
    My first instinct would be that he’s using it ironically, not that it was homophobic (given it was linked to Harry Potter for a start!)

    While I appreciate we should all be on guard against homophobia and while, of course, I wasn’t there myself, this strikes me on paper as a tad of an over reaction no?

  29. James Campbell 14 Jan 2014, 6:08pm

    The Cambridge Union Society “Promoting free speech and the art of debate since 1815” – still maintains that whatever is said in a debate is still subject to some restriction. The central policy debate within the Society concerns the limits of free speech. Many members support a ‘no platform’ policy whereby they argue that the Society should refuse to give a platform to speakers deemed to have ideas that are discriminatory and outside the mainstream. They argue that the Cambridge Union is not the Government and that in rejecting speakers based on their ideas they are not making a judgement about free speech. Needless to say, not everyone agrees.

  30. James Campbell 14 Jan 2014, 6:09pm

    With regard to “aren’t I lovely?’ Brand, I am torn between the apparent relative ‘soft abuse’ of what he said in jest and the fact that quite often, what people say spontaneously, before they give conscious thought to any utterance is more a reflection of their true feelings than what they may say otherwise. That said, it is not so much what Brand said in the cosy setting of the Union but who will copy what he said and at whom it will be aimed?

    1. The same argument can be used about anything then, can’t it? It’s like suggesting that anyone who plays GTA is potentially going to go and steal a car and shoot someone. Or, how about the good old days of Marilyn Manson being blamed for the actions of mentally ill students with access to guns?

      People are responsible for themselves. If someone uses the word “poof” to insult someone because of what Brand said, it makes absolutely no difference where it came from, the individual using it to attack someone is to blame.

      If we follow your logic, we should burn all the books lest someone be inspired to use any language they read to insult someone.

  31. seriously people…yer splitt’n hairs here period!

  32. This story is a bit ridiculous, Russell Brand has to be one of the least homophobic people on the planet! I and many other gay people I know refer to negative things as being ‘gay’ all the time… Perhaps we shouldn’t and maybe that is due to many years of social conditioning that gay things are bad. However I prefer to believe context is very important, if the aim is malicious then fair enough it can be considered homophobic. If it’s playful and in jest then it can’t really be considered that way.

  33. Colin (Queenstown/London) 14 Jan 2014, 8:33pm

    Boy does this show what a different lot we are when reading some of the comments.

    I’m a Brand fan. I know he is controversial but that boy has a brain and talent.

    This does not offend me.

  34. …….is both empowering and freeing. It’s like saying we’re proud and that we, no-one else, own these words. In fact, Dyke, faggot, gay, queer and many other terms ARE queer-words brought into usage by our community.

    For LGBT people who have not spent much time in our communities or with the many different generations of LGBT people in our communities-it can I suppose be easy to see things in black and white and assume that it is all negative.
    However real life is much more subtle and humour is subtler still.

    Much depends on the audience and the intention. Such subtleties aren’t for everyone and some people will always take such things in bad faith. In the meantime there will still be queens, fags, poofs, dykes and queers having all the fun that god intended ; ) – and laughing at the bigots as they do it.

  35. Meaghan Edwards 14 Jan 2014, 9:00pm

    Russell Brand is FAR from being homophobic. The pieces of crap who call themselves human, however, are a different story. See his interview with the Westboro Baptist Church. He is in support of the LGBT movement and regularly devotes his time for charity. I am so tired of people getting offended by everything. I am bisexual, BTW.

  36. GulliverUK 14 Jan 2014, 9:52pm

    He’s quite the prankster and often says things which are controversial – I hope I’m not being an apologist. When using the word “queer” and “poofs” there is an issue. Not sure the latter has ever been reclaimed, and I’ve rarely heard it spoken recently, but we have web sites and magazines which use the word “queer”, and this is a controversial use. As far as I’m concerned the word has been reclaimed — so that WE can use it. But like the N word it can be used by that sub-group, but someone outside that group using it is problematic. Even within our community some hate it, and some use it boldly and with pride. Is Brand a “honorary” gay? Could HE use it? Does his valid use of it rely on those hearing it knowing that he is a LGBT supporter / ally? He’s in favor of gay marriage. He’s a comedian, he pushes up to the edge, sometimes beyond. When comedians go beyond the line either the line gets moved, or there’s a backlash and they pull back.

  37. I actually cant believe how many people get offended by daft little things like this its a word at the end of the day. I’m openly bisexual, its no secret around where i live, and i constantly refer to myself and other GBL people i know as “bumder”. does that make me homophobic aswell? personally i think some people need to get a grip.

  38. My friend who is HIV gets called the Kenny Everett poof all the time, I guess that’s ok with some of the passive, weak apologists here fawning about how great brand is. I can see why there is so little respect given to gay men in particular , when so many are happy to be laughed at as old poofs and queens, get a backbone and some self respect. Any homophobe reading the comments here, will take it as open season.

    1. No, because that is an insult.

      Can you really not tell the difference here?

      Brand said this as a liberal, to liberals, in a comedic and ironic way. Your friend is verbally insulted and attacked by bigots.


      1. brand is not a liberal, he was squirming so much, at the prospect of being associated with lauren harries, that he had to refer to her as a he as a transphobic slur. He’s full of sh8t and gives ammunition to impressionable people in wide eyed awe of him ,who believe he is a tolerant liberal ,to deem this language acceptable. He’s also not funny and a contrived phoney ..

  39. Why has this clown even been invited to speak at the Oxford Union?!

  40. Okay, I was there, and this is taken so ridiculously out of context. He was interested in the college shields around the walls of the union, he was asked to choose his favourite and did, members of that college cheered, and he made a joke, a joke making fun of the idea of cambridge students being like harry potter characters. He said it and apologised for it being ridiculous within the same breath. The event was quite political and serious at some points and he was alleviating this with jokes throughout. When he made another mildly controversial joke later he directly said it was a silly joke to let out steam. He also made clear his beliefs in equality for everyone, no matter their sexuality or gender preference.

    This article has taken him out of context and misrepresented the event.

  41. Staircase2 17 Jan 2014, 1:15am

    Well said
    It’s exceptionally shoddy journalism to report stories without due regard to actual context.

    This seems to happen far too much there days on Pink News…

  42. Both my boyfriend and I attend(ed) Cambridge university and we can’t believe the backlash he’s getting for this from some in the gay community. Poof is perhaps the least offending homophobic “slur” I can think of. At the end of the day, Brand is a comedian and hence a public speaker who uses rhetorical techniques such as basic alliteration .
    Let’s face it, some Cambridge colleges do look like Hogwarts and you’ll often see students in town at night with their gowns on, so the Harry Potter reference was clearly a joke on those grounds. Poof was simply adding on a little jokey alliteration and as insults and homophobic slurs go, there are so many more worse words that he could have used if he was trying to be consciously or unconsciously insulting.
    I’m surprised noone has raged about the phrase “shut up” . That’s not polite language and is as, if not more, insulting than the word poof. But it’s not meant as an insult nor is his use of poof (if you can even call poof an insult)

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