Russell Brand Says Bradley Manning Is A Hero

Russell Brand is in the news for mouthing off to MSNBC anchors, but the sometimes bawdy star has donned his “social commentator” hat for a new Gawker interview about Bradley Manning, American patriotism, and whistleblowers.

Russell Brand is a well-liked comedian, but he’s also spoken out eloquently and compellingly before on social issues before the Bradley Manning debate.

In the past, Brand has advocated for compassion toward drug abusers and opened up about his own struggles, subsequently penning a heart-wrenching piece about his relationship with troubled singer Amy Winehouse and her failed battle with addiction.

Before Brand lambasted the MSNBC team for talking about him impolitely, he spoke to Gawker at length about Bradley Manning, and the role of a whistleblower in today’s news cycle.

Asked why he chose to address Manning’s plight, Brand said in part:

“I don’t know a great deal about international espionage, but sometimes one senses that an issue is drifting in a certain direction, and just by speaking out in a small way, you can make a subtle difference on that perception. Some people have made their mind up no matter what: ‘Bradley Manning is a traitor because of revealing classified information.’ ”

He went on to opine that “[Manning] was motivated out of a different kind of patriotism: a genuine love of the people of this country and concern for the people.”

Brand also quipped that public conversation exempts “what’s now regarded as esoteric information [such as] everything except for stuff that directly concerns Kim Kardashian,” the actor explains:

“I happen to believe that Bradley Manning has the right to a fair trial; it seems clear to me that some of the charges against him are mendacious and duplicitous from the outset… The things I’d say I’m highly qualified to talk about are drugs and alcohol abstinence, social consciousness broadly, and sex. Under my libertarian umbrella, occasionally Bradley Manning or the demonstrations in Turkey will fall under my shade.”

Addressing possible criticism stemming from the fact Russell Brand isn’t American, he answers:

“As long as you know that all of this stuff is arbitrary—that karate is invention, that Catholicism is invention, that America in an invention—but that humanity is an actual thing, we don’t have to all pretend to believe this s***… What’s actually important? A human being doing a thing that was quite bold—possibly from a position of some personal trauma—but that regardless has brought attention to important stuff.”

When asked if he believes Bradley Manning is a hero, Brand answers in the affirmative (essentially), before adding “[but] don’t make me look like a d***head.”

You can read Russell Brand’s full Bradley Manning interview over on Gawker.