A liberal worth $15 million crusading against the wealthy with a documentary. Now that's comedy gold.
It's also exactly what British comedian and left-wing activist Russell Brand has done by making The Emperor's New Clothes, which was directed Michael Winterbottom.
The film is scheduled to premiere a number spendy early screenings across the United Kingdom on April 21, before opening on April 24. For a mere £15.50 (about $23) per adult, viewers will be treated to more of Brand's "thought-provoking" opinions and "big thoughts on big issues." That is how NBC Today co-hosts Tamron Hall and Matt Lauer described Brand's political ramblings in October 2014.
In the documentary, Brand revealed exactly why he thinks "the rich are getting richer, [and] everyone else is struggling." He ridiculed wealthy moguls, particularly bankers guilty of "illegal behavior," for earning too much money and purportedly increasing in income inequality since 2008. Brand's own net worth is $15 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth.
But Brand, prone to hyperbole, didn't stop there. He blamed the rich for the woes of society at large.
"Russell Brand is on a mission to find the men who killed our society," the documentary's trailer said. In the trailer, Brand actually cited janitors and executives at the same company earning different wages as an example of "the institutionalization of greed."
Brand attempted to corner several businessmen into talking to him on camera. This included Lord Rothermere, a multi-billionaire whom Brand accused of tax avoidance.
He went to great lengths to pester Rothermere, as shown in a promotional clip from the documentary. After showing up at Rothermere's home, Brand badgered his household staff about their boss's taxes, plastered posters on the tycoon's front gate, and even jumped the fence and triggered a security alarm in order to hang a poster in front of the house.
Brand has previously showed disdain for those living in expensive homes, while conveniently forgetting about his own opulent lifestyle. In December 2014, he protested against a real estate development in London that would reportedly displace low-income residents and got testy when a British reporter asked about his own $7,802 monthly rent.
Instead of addressing his own hypocrisy, Brand redirected. He called out British Prime Minister David Cameron for living at 10 Downing Street, claiming there was "no more expensive piece of real estate in London than that one."
In the documentary, Brand resorts to others stunts like driving a van around London during one segment with the pictures and names of three banking executives posted on the side.
"We're just trying to get some money back off of the banks," he told onlookers while driving and calling out the window using a megaphone. "If you've seen any of the men on this van please do not attempt to approach them. They're crafty."
But in the movie, Brand attempts to speak with the executives he's blasting. He walked into banks like HSBC and RBS in the U.K., and asked to speak with their executives.
Brand also complained about income inequality in his 2014 book, Revolution. While promoting the book, he blamed the ongoing violence in Ferguson, Mo., on the U.S. government for failing to redistribute wealth.
"It's almost like they're anticipating further public unrest, and instead of placating members of the population through fairness, redistribution of wealth, not beating them up and shooting them, they've decided to just arm the police," Brand said on Democracy Now! Nov. 14, 2014.
That was just one of Brand's kooky theories. He also has said the United States government may have orchestrated the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks. "We have to remain open-minded to any kind of possibility," Brand told a British reporter in October 2014.