Skip to main content

British actor and comedian Russell Brand arrives for the European premiere of the film Rock of Ages at Leicester Square in central London June 10, 2012.TOBY MELVILLE/Reuters

Why did Russell Brand bring up fashion house Hugo Boss's history with the Nazi party at a recent GQ award show? The mad Englishman has his reasons.

Brand gave his own version of the bizarre events in a column from the Guardian. The British comic actor was invited to British GQ's Men of the Year Awards to receive something called the Oracle Award on Sept. 3.

Held at London's Royal Opera House, the event was sponsored by fashion giant Hugo Boss, which clearly prefactored into Brand's acceptance speech.

Never one to hold back his comments, Brand stunned the players in the British fashion industry with the line, "Any of you who know a little bit about history and fashion will know that Hugo Boss made the uniforms for the Nazis."

And once Brand shocked the crowd, he just kept on going, saying, "The Nazis did have flaws, but, you know, they did look f-ing fantastic, let's face it, while they were killing people on the basis of their religion and sexuality."

Needless to say, Brand's comments didn't go over well with GQ or the higher powers at Hugo Boss. GQ editor Dylan Jones personally kicked Brand out of the exclusive afterparty, after which Brand posted the following explanatory tweet:

"GQ Editor: What you did was very offensive to Hugo Boss. Me: What Hugo Boss did was very offensive to the Jews."

So why did Brand do it in the first place?

Brand tells the Guardian he went over the edge because he was joking with friends at his table, among them Oasis frontman Noel Gallagher, who also received a GQ award that night.

Brand claims his group was particularly offended by the comments of London mayor Boris Johnson at the event, particularly when he made a comment about the developing situation in Syria.

Brand says his table was already treating the night like a joke, and the fact that a politician chose to talk about a real crisis sealed his contempt for the event. By the time he was set to go onstage, Brand says he was in an ornery state of mind and his friends were goading him on.

But one week removed, Brand wants to let bygones be bygones. "The jokes about Hugo Boss were not intended to herald a campaign against them," Brand told The Guardian. "They're not Monsanto or Halliburton, the contemporary corporate allies of modern-day fascism; they are, I thought, an irrelevant menswear supplier with a double-dodgy history."

In Brand's book, that qualifies as a public apology.