Following the overhyped, over-photographed (and, yes, over here) circle jerk festival that was this year’s GQ Awards has come news of a divergence of opinion between the magazine’s editor Dylan Jones, and invited guest Russell Brand, who, it is now being reported, was asked to leave the “after” party as a result of remarks he had made during his award acceptance speech.
Brand had clearly decided to have a go at event sponsor Hugo Boss – apparently a sum not unadjacent to £250,000 had changed hands – over their recent history, which included designing uniforms for the Waffen SS. He told the audience “But they did look f****** fantastic, let’s face it, while they were killing people on the basis of their religion and sexuality”.
This prompted a rash of copycat abuse: Roger Daltrey passed severely adverse comment on London’s occasional Mayor Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, Noel Gallagher suggested William ‘Ague might have been better advised being elsewhere, like doing his job, given the situation in the Middle East. Then Jeremy Piven, who is Jewish, thanked Brand for his comments.
“So thank you Russell, for pointing out the people that killed six million of my people” he observed. But the snarking was not over, as Charles Moore (Eton and Trinity College, Cambridge) compared Nazi persecution of the Jews to Brand’s behaviour towards Andrew Sachs, who is Jewish. Moore was roundly booed, not least because Sachsgate and Kristalnacht are not quite the same thing.
Only after all this less than decorous behaviour was there apparently an exchange between Jones and Brand, with the latter reporting “GQ Editor: ‘What you did was very offensive to Hugo Boss’ Me: ‘What Hugo Boss did was very offensive to the Jews’”. To which the question does not merely beg itself, but scream out for attention: why on earth did Dylan Jones invite Russell Brand?
He knew Brand’s propensity to say what he thinks, unencumbered by the fetters that prevent the more obsequious crawlers from making inconvenient statements. He also knew – or he bloody well should have known – the history of his event sponsor. If Dylan Jones wants edgy, he’s going to get it. He wanted the media attention that came from having Brand there. He should have known the possible price of that.
Because all that Jones is left with today is the impression that, despite all the glitz and glamour, his awards ceremony was a bad-tempered affair, lightened only by Russell Brand demonstrating that somebody without a sense of humour needs to get a life, all of which was underscored by the clumsy intervention of an old Etonian stuffed shirt who should have kept his trap shut.
You want a stage-managed event, Mr Jones? Go and arrange a party conference.