London Real, the podcast/website/business guru course/YouTube channel responsible for reintroducing David Icke to the public eye and cultural discourse (reptilians and all), is currently in the midst of a PR crisis. Owner Brian Rose’s videos have cultivated a dedicated and vocal following known as the London Real Army, but it appears as though there is dissent in the ranks.
London Real, the video podcast, has been going for a little over 9 years now in a format that initially seemed to ape The Joe Rogan Experience, hosting the likes of Howard Marks and Steven Pinker in its first year and talking about MMA, taking DMT, and modern dating, as well as investment, tech start-ups, and Bitcoin. As the podcast gained popularity, the videos gradually got more polished and are interspersed with short videos advertising Rose’s “Business Accelerator” course (more on that later).
Although London Real has been around for a good while now, it is the recent run of videos with what they consider “controversial voices” such as Dr Rashid Buttar, Dr Andrew Spalding, and as of last night Dr Judy Mikovitz, that has caused the channel to explode in popularity, with 1.83m subscribers as of writing. Here, they provide slick production and a signal boost to anyone peddling a conspiracy around the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s “professional conspiracy theorist” Icke though, who really put Rose on the map.
On March 18th, the channel broadcast their first live streamed conversation between Rose and Icke, where the duo mulled over the motives of the WHO, fantasized about an imminent “Hunger Games society”, and pointed the finger at 5G’s supposed role in the pandemic. On April 6th, a second livestream was broadcast on YouTube, and it is here where the controversy begins.
The Digital Freedom Platform
The story from London Real goes like this: the livestream was the second highest on YouTube for the day, reaching 65,000 simultaneous viewers. Icke was firing out more truths about 5G, the “vaccine agenda”, one world currencies… and reptilians. After half an hour, the video was removed by YouTube without warning. The next day, the BBC reported the news and YouTube deleted Icke’s account, calling him a “COVID-19 denier”. This culminated in Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn and others deleting either videos or accounts attached to Icke, Rose, and London Real. Clearly, big-tech is out to suppress the truth! To date, London Real’s YouTube channel has over 7,000 videos.
In response to this act of "censorship", Rose announced that he would be starting a crowdfunding campaign for the “Digital Freedom Platform” – a streaming and video hosting service that is "Of the People, By the People, For the People" and in a YouTube video last month, proudly announced that the platform is “not just owned by us, but by you”. The goal was to raise $100,000 to support the cost of streaming the third Rose and Icke interview on May 3rd, which was summarily met and the stream went ahead on London Real’s own website as well as YouTube (where again, after half an hour, it was set to private, then removed).
Since then, stretch goals have been continually added (despite Rose repeatedly stating that he would close the fundraiser after goals are met). These goals have included $200,000 to get more “controversial voices” on the platform, $200,000 for “blockchain technology”, $250,000 for the “freedom app”, and $250,000 for the “freedom fund” which they will use to “take YouTube to EU court”. All of these goals have now been met, meaning Rose’s London Real Army have given him well over $1,000,000.
This has all been capped off with a new goal for monthly maintenance costs, amounting to another $250,000 a month. This too has almost been met.
Dissent in the Ranks
The combination of over a million dollars raised in continually stretching goals, videos with “controversial figures” during a global pandemic, and loudly crying censorship and the need for a new platform while having 7,000 videos up on your very active YouTube account is sure to attract extra attention, and raise some questions about what is happening with that cash.
More and more comments underneath YouTube videos and on London Real’s various social media pages are reflecting a dissatisfaction around transparency and use of funds from the fundraiser. For example, on Monday 18th (Rose’s birthday), the YouTube community comments for London Real had a mix of well-wishers, as well as the following:
Similar remarks can be found in the comments under many videos, as well as on the London Real Facebook page, where on the May 16th, he made a post addressing concerns around the fundraiser, as well as reassuringly stating that “LOSERS FOCUS ON WINNERS, WINNERS FOCUS ON WINNING” in addition to being accused of deleting comments.
Is this simply the ire of a community that feels as though their free-speech figurehead has overreached with an ambitious crowdfunding campaign and now needs to quickly deliver on lofty expectations, or do the mutineers of the London Real Army have a reason to turn against their general? To get to the answer, we must look into the London Real and Brian Rose beyond the conspiracy turn.
The Rise of Rose and the London Real Academy
For about 5 years, the content of London Real predominantly stayed with the Rogan format of ‘generally interesting people’ from across the political spectrum. Later videos (as of 2 years ago) stopped being pooled and instead were sorted into playlists including: latest interviews, a 35 video playlist on “freedom of speech” – all uploaded after the Icke fiasco on April 6th, Brian Rose’s ‘real deal’, and a glut of videos under the “London Real Academy” branding.
The London Real Academy is an umbrella for Rose’s paid-for mentoring programs. These include the aforementioned Business Accelerator which promises you can “be your own boss in 8 weeks”; the Speak to Inspire course, where in 8 weeks, you can become an excellent public speaker; the Broadcast Yourself course where you will learn to become a successful podcaster in 8 weeks; and the Life Accelerator where, truthfully, I’m not sure what happens but in (yep) 8 weeks, you study modules called “Master the Mind”, “Move or Die”, and “Plan Your Winning Future”. So far, so Internet self-help package. The kicker though, is that each of these courses costs a minimum of $2997 (or 6 payments of $597) – with upsells that include an interview with Rose at the London Real HQ, and a 6 month personal mentorship with Rose.
The reason for this premium is apparently due to the live nature of the webinars and Rose’s personal input in the seminars. However, 23 testimonials on ScamGuard reveal a very different picture. “His ‘live’ masterclasses are actually pre-recorded and he claims to have a 96% success rate. All lies! By the end of the course less than 44% of people completed and the ones that were successful is closer to 5%” writes one user. Another summarizes the experience thus:
The course was hugely basic and did not give the access it claimed. The course leaders were inexperienced and basically people from the course previously. One section was called kick start you (sic) social media -that entailed setting up 5 social media accounts and breaking GDPR laws by spamming friends and family to get followers. That describes the course in a nutshell. Horrendous experience.
All of the reviews tell a similar story. Scant contact with Rose sharing his expertise, pre-recorded ‘live’ webinars, a call to break GDPR laws, and an “accountability document” that allows Rose to refuse a refund if he thinks a participant hasn’t been engaging in the course well enough. Today, these courses are still running.
Another arguably more controversial venture by Rose was hosting and promoting a cryptocurrency scheme called “5 Coins to 5 Million” run by investor Teeka Tawari in March of this year. Though a respected investor, Tawari has been accused of questionable business methods when it comes to cryptocurrency. There is proof of the presence of Tawari’s involvement in London Real, but much of what was there has been scrubbed from the website. The video on London Real’s YouTube channel is up but has had its comments disabled. A video of the “investment event” on their Facebook page still has the following comments underneath:
It appears as though the London Real Army were less than receptive to Tawari’s approach to web delivery after London Real’s marketing and build-up led to a $2500 sales-pitch. Again, the spectre of removing comments looms large.
Here, we can see there is clearly a precedent for Rose to take advantage of his audience and their faith in him, so let's take a closer look at the much lauded Digital Freedom Platform.
Of the People, By the People, For the People?
Rather than a proprietary platform, a cursory glance in London Real’s source code reveals that they are using already existing streaming services, but funneled through the London Real website (as well as keeping a huge YouTube channel). This is unsurprising as, to watch anything on London Real, you must first submit a verified email address and agree to be sent marketing communications – you are also subject to plenty of pop-ups on the website promoting the Business Accelerator.
Here, on a clip of David Icke that is no longer available on YouTube, we can see that the video is being streamed from videodelivery.net, a hosting domain built into cloudflare web development tools.
On both the May 3rd Icke livestream and the Judy Mikovitz livestream on the 20th, the video was being streamed from Dacast.com.
Crucially, neither of these streaming options are “Of the People, By the People, For the People” – as they are private companies with their own terms and conditions around content as much as YouTube is, nor are they part of a new platform, instead they are existing platform options dressed up in London Real’s garb.
While on the topic of terms and conditions, the small-print for Rose’s fundraiser contains some hefty paragraphs that call into question the “Of the People, By the People, For the People” mantra he pushes:
Here, we can see that despite being funded “by the people” to the tune of over $1,000,000, ownership of the platform remains entirely in Rose’s name – or the name of Longstem Ltd, under which he operates in the UK.
The blockchain stretch goal in the fundraiser, while sounding flashy and secure, is also misleading. As Sasha Shilina explains, while blockchain technology will allow for decentralized video streaming, it will primarily function as a way to facilitate micropayments and smart-contracts; putting even more money into Rose’s pocket.
I was also curious to see how necessary this platform would be and just how under threat London Real’s content was on YouTube. The David Icke playlist is still available – listing 87 videos. Of those, only 12 are still available, with 3 being calls to action by Rose for his platform. However, rather than being removed by YouTube, the vast majority are simply set to ‘private’. Only 13 are listed as deleted for violating community standards which may be in response to the rash of 5G mast arson attacks from April 10th to 13th – just days after Icke’s live broadcast with London Real.
The same pattern can be found in the playlists for Andrew Kaufmann and Dr. Rashid Buttar – a couple of deleted videos and the rest set to private. With over 7,000 videos readily available on the London Real YouTube channel, could Rose’s oppression at the hands of ‘big tech’ be an artificial freedom of speech crisis and a lucrative moneyspinner?
Members of the London Real Army are beginning to ask this question. YouTubers EqualsCash and Coffeezilla have been covering Rose’s behavior since the fundraiser crossed the $1,000,000 threshold, and their videos have been shared in London Real comments sections on Facebook and YouTube, along with sarcastic remarks and speculation around whether the platform will ever truly materialize. Indeed, rather than being “Of the People, By the People, For the People” – it appears as though more and more members of the London Real Army are beginning to realize that the Digital Freedom Platform is ‘of videos made private from YouTube, by Cloudflare and Dacast, and for Brian Rose’s wallet’.