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Russell Brand And A Channel 4 News Reporter Got Into A Heated Debate Over The Cost Of His House

The comedian was at Downing Street with residents of the New Era estate in east London to deliver a petition calling for help to prevent their rent from rising to unaffordable levels.

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Russell Brand got into an argument with Channel 4 News reporter Paraic O’Brien on Monday after he was asked about the cost of his house.

View this video on YouTube

youtube.com

Brand was at Downing Street with some of the residents of the New Era housing estate in Hoxton, east London, who are concerned they may be forced out of their homes after an American private equity company bought the estate earlier this year.

Residents are worried Westbrook Partners plans to refurbish current flats, build new accommodation, and raise the rent of the affordable housing to current market levels, Channel 4 News reported.

The Guardian said such a move could see rent on a two-bedroom flat in the estate rise from £800 a month to over £2,000, making accommodation unaffordable to the current tenants, some of whom have lived on the estate for decades.

The previous management had promised to keep the rent at its current level until 2016, and earlier this month, Jules Pipe, the mayor of Hackney, wrote to Westbrook asking for the New Era estate to be sold to a local housing association and for the private equity firm to honour the agreement to not increase rent.

Westbrook has since released a statement saying rents would not change during the first half of next year.

Yesterday, Brand and New Era residents protested outside the Westbrook office in central London and marched to Downing Street.

Channel 4 News / Via youtube.com

There they delivered a petition with 294,000 signatures calling on prime minister David Cameron and London mayor Boris Johnson to get involved in the dispute.

It was at this point that Brand spoke to Channel 4 News.

During the interview, O’Brien put it to Brand that part of the problem was super wealthy individuals buying up property and the subsequent demands this was putting on the London property market.

Channel 4 News / Via youtube.com

He then asked the actor how much he paid for his house, to which Brand replied that his home was rented and he wasn't interested in discussing how much rent he pays.

"I'm here to support a very, very important campaign, and you as a member of the media have an important duty to help to represent these people," he told Channel 4 News.

She told O'Brien:

At least Russell Brand is actually standing up, regardless of how big his house is, and coming down and helping ordinary people.

Let's see if David Cameron is willing to do that. Let's see if David Cameron is willing to come out of his big house and help us, but he isn't, is he, but Russell Brand has and thank god there's people like him who are prepared to step out and help people like us, otherwise we wouldn't be here today, we wouldn't have 300,000 signatures, we would have been kicked out and booted out of London.

So thank god.

After the segment aired, O'Brien defended his interview with a series of tweets on Monday evening.

1/3 Few thoughts re tonight's #NewEraEstate report: Do I think that rich people aren't entitled to campaign/care? Of course not.

Paraic O'Brien@paraicobrienFollow

1/3 Few thoughts re tonight's #NewEraEstate report:
Do I think that rich people aren't entitled to campaign/care?
Of course not.

9:19 PM - 01 Dec 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

2/3 Do I think I did justice to the #NewEraEstate campaign & bigger issue in 3mins of vaguely watchable TV? Yes

Paraic O'Brien@paraicobrienFollow

2/3 Do I think I did justice to the #NewEraEstate campaign & bigger issue in 3mins of vaguely watchable TV?
Yes

9:23 PM - 01 Dec 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

3/3 Is it my job to test tension between private circumstances & publicly held views of celebrities? Yes

Paraic O'Brien@paraicobrienFollow

3/3 Is it my job to test tension between private circumstances & publicly held views of celebrities?
Yes

9:25 PM - 01 Dec 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

And this morning he referenced Brand calling him a "snide" and the debate their conversation has generated.

Holy God. Reading my timeline from overnight. Looks like come the revolution, we 'snides' are totally f*#ked : )

Paraic O'Brien@paraicobrienFollow

Holy God. Reading my timeline from overnight. Looks like come the revolution, we 'snides' are totally f*#ked : )

8:18 AM - 02 Dec 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

Russell Brand released a video on Monday afternoon talking about the interview with Channel 4 News.

View this video on YouTube

youtube.com

Richard James is acting head of news for BuzzFeed Australia and is based in Sydney.

Contact Richard James at richard.james@buzzfeed.com.

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