Firstly, I’m in the camp that says what they did was plain wrong. I haven’t heard the now infamous answer machine messages, but I’ve read the transcript and I think it’s horrible. It just isn’t funny.
In the aftermath, I think Brand emerges with slightly more credit by having the decency to fall on his sword. Can’t imagine him struggling for work though; it’s probably increased his value to MTV et al quite considerably. Meanwhile Ross has managed to hang on but is losing an estimated £1.4m in pay. I don’t have a view one way or another whether he’s worth his pay, but I would expect somebody in receipt of that amount of money to exercise better judgement.
I was surprised to learn that the show was not live and that a fairly junior producer had decided to broadcast the segment. I wonder whether a coaching style conversation with his boss might have enabled slightly better thinking and an appreciation of the likely outcome to have developed.
Having said all of this I think the reaction by certain sections of the printed media has been quite hysterical and out of all proportion. The economy is a mess and war still rages in Africa and beyond. Let’s return to the real issues.