Russell Brand Scraps Middle East Comedy Tour Over Security Concerns

Russell Brand

The no-holds-barred comic had been slated for stops in Abu Dhabi and Lebanon on his "Messiah Complex" journey.

Russell Brand has canceled the Middle Eastern leg of his Messiah Complex world tour because of security concerns.

The brash and unfiltered British comic, who earlier this week made headlines for hijacking a segment on MSNBC's Morning Joe, was to perform in Abu Dhabi and Lebanon in August, but scrapped those dates after promoters warned that his safety could not be guaranteed.

"Those gigs have been banned, pulled because of threats from extremists that if I went there, there would be problems," Brand told BBC radio on Thursday. "The venue contacted us and said we can no longer guarantee your safety."

Brand, whose act involves icons from Gandhi and Jesus to Che Guevara and Malcolm X, said sensitivities over the promotional poster might have prompted organizers to pull the plug, observing: "The image by the brilliant artist Shepard Fairey depicts me as looking a little Christ-like ... so there's an indication that it might be offensive."

"If you are in some sort of fundamentalist group and Google my name and watch a few things on YouTube, you might just think 'don't bother having him here,'" he said.

The tour launched June 12 in Chicago and wraps up Dec. 9 in Reykjavik, Iceland.