The allegations of sexual assault against Russell Brand are new. Though, perhaps not as new as you might think… But his public persona has always been that of the overly randy Brit.
To the masses, he was sexually forward in a way many saw as broadly comedic in movies and TV appearances but ultimately harmless IRL. But in light of the new accusations, a lot of the perception of Brand is being reappraised. And the most brazen example may be a 2013 appearance on The Tonight Show.
When the second guest takes the stage and Russell is meant to move down the couch, instead he stays — and pulls a shocked Katharine McPhee onto his lap! He says:
“Katharine is welcome to sit here!”
The Smash alum even seems to be amiably playing along — again, that was his persona. It’s intended to be funny. But then Brand takes it over the line, and you can see it in Katharine’s face. He grabs her hips and thrusts, and immediately you see the singer’s body language change. She gets stiff and secures her skirt — she starts to push him away. It’s subtle, but it is definitely there. He of course doesn’t stop, adding:
“As you know, I’ve announced it, I find Katharine very attractive and I think when she said ‘exchange numbers’ I thought of things that I’d like to exchange with her.”
When the audience goes wild, he responds:
“Numbers! And genes. Genetic info. Data.”
See the whole wild segment (below):
As for Katharine, this wasn’t a big deal at all. As the late night moment has resurfaced, she told DailyMail.com on Monday:
“This specific incident was over 10 years ago and it was harmless.”
Harmless? Maybe. But it did seem to cross a line. There are obviously plenty of entertainers who do the horny guy routine safely — think Conan O’Brien, who purrs and claws and really keeps the joke about how silly he looks. And never, you know, ACTUALLY GRABS the women on his show. This is… pretty overboard, enough so that it does genuinely seem to make Katharine uncomfortable in the moment.
Obviously this is nowhere what Brand is being accused of. You can read all about that, if you can stomach it HERE. But it is rather inneresting to go back and watch this moment with fresh eyes, considering what he’s being accused of during this period in time.
It seems, based on the allegations of multiple women, that the sexual aggression was not simply a put-on for the stage, and he was all over women IRL, whether they wanted him to be or not. And not all of them had a ton of cameras and Jimmy Fallon in between them and Russell.
[Image via The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon/YouTube.]