Roll Call – Issue 2

Issue 2 – 11th October 2023

Our second edition turns to the world of entertainment, covering broadcasters, music venues, and celebrity chefs. 

1.) Broadcasters’ changing attitudes to presenters’ behaviour


The revelations published by the Times, Sunday Times and Channel 4’s Dispatches on the alleged behaviour of comedian, actor and broadcaster Russell Brand were obviously shocking and distressing. The detailed reports pointed to a ‘blind-eye’ being turned to some of Mr. Brand and his research team’s more questionable behaviour during Mr. Brand’s time with Big Brother’s EFourum, the smash hit TV show’s spin-off. The swathes of negative media coverage about Mr. Brand have now called into question the actions, or rather non-actions, of the BBC and Channel 4, while the broadcast union, Bectu said the BBC should have acted at the time. 

While the Noughties were obviously a ‘different epoch’, not that the behaviour and allegations reported should be acceptable under any circumstance, we were encouraged to see how a new(ish) broadcaster handled misbehaviour by one of its own hosts.


Whereas it has taken more than a decade for serious questions to have finally been raised about Mr. Brand’s behaviour, on and indeed off-air, within a week of Lawrence Fox’s distasteful and repugnant comments about political journalist, Ana Evans, he was sacked from his role at GB News, alongside Calvin Robinson. Whether this swift decision by GB News was accelerated given the negative broadcaster-related coverage about Brand or not, the correct decision has been made. 


Regardless of one’s views on ‘free speech’, an argument Mr. Fox used in his retort, insulting and offensive comments on air are simply wrong today, as they should always have been. Broadcasters have a moral responsibility to not only report facts and truth but to deliver opinion, no matter how divisive, in a manner that does not resort to aggressively demeaning others.

2.) Brixton 02 Academy avoids permanent closure


As one of London’s most famous and indeed best live music and performance venues (I’ve been to quite a few of them), Brixton Academy holds a special place in my heart. I’ve experienced (‘seen’ just doesn’t feel right) many gigs there, from Therapy?, The Prodigy back in 1995, Nine Inch Nails, Unkle, De La Soul, and one of my very favourite visits, Velvet Revolver in January 2005.

I was alarmed to read in December last year that two concert-goers died in a crush at the Brixton 02 Academy, following which the venue was rightly ordered to close

Following this tragic occurrence, Brixton 02 Academy was shut for three months to enable police to carry out a thorough investigation, the findings of which were published last month. The Academy Music Group (AMG), who run the venue, have been given the green light to reopen, with a clearly much needed raft of new safety measures. 


Live music presents an opportunity to escape from the day-to-day, dance and sing to the music that makes up our own personal life soundtracks and without meaning to sound corny, feel truly alive. Not coming home at the end of any such evening is simply unacceptable. 

The possibility of closing for good one of London’s most popular music venues initially seemed unthinkable, given its importance to local businesses and its role in providing, quite literally, a stage for the world’s music acts. Whatever possessed those on the fateful night of 15th December 2022 to take it upon themselves recklessly and selfishly to storm the Academy will never be known, nor will they ever be brought to justice.


While on one hand I am relieved that the opportunity to return to a favourite gig venue remains a possibility, I will be watching the outcomes of the test events that the Academy Music Group will be running at the Brixton 02 Academy closely. The fact that people have died while trying to enjoy a night out on AMG’s watch, regardless of the circumstances, means that their focus on safety at south London’s arguably most important music venue must never waiver again. 

3.) Celebrity restaurateur ‘sprinkles’ away his reputation


The FIFA World Cup in Qatar last year was to all intents and purposes a great success. While there were plenty of reputational challenges faced and overcome by the host country, sponsors and extremely well paid global influencers, the general consensus was very positive.

Argentina, led by talisman and ‘horned-herbivore’ (G.O.A.T) Lionel Messi, overcame arguably the biggest World Cup shock ever, in their loss to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in the group stage, to make the final and ultimately beat holders France 4-2 on penalties after a thrilling 3-3 draw after extra time. Football fans around the world must have become misty-eyed seeing Messi raise the iconic trophy, fulfilling his destiny to bring the cup home to Argentina and settling the ‘Greatest Of All Time’ debate once and for all. 

The trophy ceremony was an interesting occasion. The Emir of Qatar, presenting the trophy alongside FIFA boss Gianni Infantino and some other unrecognisable football dignitaries, cloaked the now undisputed G.O.A.T in a bisht, in further reverence to his and his team’s triumph in the greatest sporting occasion of them all. 

Further awards were handed out to the Best Young Player, Enzo Fernandez and the Golden Glove award for best goalkeeper went to Emilio Martinez. No sooner had he received his literal golden glove trophy, Mr. Martinez took it upon himself to suddenly position it at his hips in a clearly inappropriate gesture.

One might think that was quite enough trophy ‘misuse’ for one World Cup Final, but no, there was more to come. 

As Messi and the entire Argentina squad, their families and coaches celebrated on the pitch in front of the world’s media, a bespectacled man with a mahogany tan, a ponytail, and a three-piece suit suddenly appeared next to Messi, appearing to try to grab the trophy off the victor ludorum. Who was he? What was he doing? And why on earth was he there? 

Enter Nusret Gökçe, or ‘SaltBae’ as he’s better known to social media fans. 


After becoming a salt-sprinkling meme in 2017, Mr Gökce capitalised on his new found fame to build a global restaurant chain of Nus-Ret restaurants, hosting footballers including. Lionel Messi and his wife, celebrities, dignitaries including Mr. Gianni Infantino), and other customers willing to pay exorbitant prices for a steak garnished with SaltBae’s special seasoning. 

However, following his unexpected gate-crashing of Argentina’s celebrations in Qatar last November, which he denies, his New York restaurant has now closed and prices in London have been slashed. Social media is also blowing the whistle on the Turkish phenomenon


While the decline of the Nus-Ret’s restaurant empire’s popularity might not be solely due to his World Cup Final antics, the combination of fame-hunger, a media opportunity seemingly too good to miss and most heinous of all for a restaurateur, serving expensive but bad food, could signal the beginning of the end. 

From a reputation perspective, the lesson of ‘staying in one’s lane’ (Chef on a World Cup Final football pitch, anyone?!) is clearly apparent and suggests that after all, there is indeed such a thing as bad publicity.

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