Sunday, 23 June

Russell Brand accused of rape, sexual assault, emotional abuse by four women – allegations he denies

Entertainment
Brand leaving a Wembley theatre where he performed a comedy set last Saturday night amid the sexual misconduct allegations

Comedian and actor Russell Brand has been accused of rape, sexual assaults and emotional abuse in a Sunday Times and Channel 4 Dispatches investigation - allegations he denies.

Four women have made allegations of sexual assaults between 2006 and 2013 while he was at the height of his fame, according to the newspaper.

The Sunday Times reports that others have made a range of accusations about Brand's controlling, abusive and predatory behaviour.

In an overnight video put out on YouTube, Brand denied "very serious criminal allegations" that he said would be made against him by a newspaper and TV company.

In the video, entitled "So, This is Happening", the comedian denied the claims that he described as "a litany of extremely egregious and aggressive attacks".

The 48-year-old said he "absolutely refutes" the accusations that "pertain to the time when I was working in the mainstream".

"As I've written about extensively in my books, I was very, very promiscuous," he said in the clip.

"I don't mind them using my books and my stand-up to talk about my promiscuous consensual conduct in the past. What I seriously refute are these very, very serious criminal allegations."

He added: "Also, it's worth mentioning that there are witnesses whose evidence directly contradicts the narrative that these two mainstream media outlets are trying to construct, apparently, in what seems to me to be a coordinated attack."

Signing off the clip, he said: "Now, I don't wanna get into this any further because of the serious nature of the allegations, but I feel like I'm being attacked and plainly they're working very closely together.

"We are obviously going to look into this matter 'cause it's very, very serious. In the meantime, I want you to stay close, stay awake, but more important than any of that, if you can, please stay free."

What are the details of the allegations?

According to the Sunday Times article, one of Brand's accusers claims she was 16 and still at school when they began a relationship, having met each other while she was out shopping in central London.

Another woman claims to have been raped by Brand at his Los Angeles home.

The newspaper details claims she was treated at a rape crisis centre on the same day and sent him a text afterwards saying: "When a girl say[s] NO it means no."

A third woman alleges he sexually assaulted her at his West Hollywood home after the pair met at Alcoholics Anonymous.

And the fourth accuser claims to have been physically and emotionally abused by him.

A female comedian, who has not been named, also recalls being "grabbed" and "bitten" in the face by Brand when they gigged together in the early 2000s.

She likens his alleged behaviour at parties to the character in the 1987 film Predator.

A comedian told the Sunday Times that Brand's name was regularly circulated in online groups of female comics.

"I know for many, many years that women have been warning each other about Russell," he told the paper.

Brand performs Wembley gig

Brand performed a live show in Wembley on Saturday evening after the allegations against him were reported.

Brand worked for the BBC and Channel 4 after breaking out with stand-up performances at the Edinburgh Festival in 2000.

He hosted Big Brother spin-off show Big Brother's Big Mouth on Channel 4 for three years from 2004, before being given slots on both BBC Radio 6 Music and Radio 2.

His time at the BBC ended in scandal in 2008 after he and presenter Jonathan Ross left a series of lewd answer phone messages for Andrew Sachs, claiming Brand had had sex with the actor's granddaughter.

 

Brand and Radio 2's controller quit, while Ross was suspended.

Following the "Sachsgate scandal", he moved to the US to pursue a career in Hollywood, where he starred in films such as Forgetting Sarah Marshall and Get Him To The Greek.

The comedian married pop star Katy Perry in 2010, having proposed to her outside the Taj Mahal, but they divorced in 2012.

He later returned to the UK where he met and married Laura Gallacher - the sister of presenter Kirsty Gallacher. They have two children and are expecting a third child.

In recent years, he has re-emerged as a prominent YouTuber. He has used his wide social media following to express conspiracy theories on the coronavirus pandemic, vaccine and the Great Reset.

Brand and Perry in London in 2011| Brand and Katy Perry married in 2010 before divorcing in 2012

BBC, Channel 4 and government respond to allegations

In response to the joint investigation, a BBC spokesperson said: "Russell Brand worked for a number of different organisations, of which the BBC was one.

"As is well known, Russell Brand left the BBC after a serious editorial breach in 2008 - as did the then-controller of Radio 2.

"The circumstances of the breach were reviewed in detail at the time. We hope that demonstrates that the BBC takes issues seriously and is prepared to act.

"Indeed, the BBC has, over successive years, evolved its approach to how it manages talent and how it deals with complaints or issues raised.

"We will always listen to people if they come forward with any concerns, on any issue related to any individual working at the BBC, past or present."

Channel 4 said it was "appalled to learn of these deeply troubling allegations, including behaviour alleged to have taken place on programmes made for Channel 4 between 2004 and 2007".

The broadcaster added: "We are determined to understand the full nature of what went on. We have carried out extensive document searches and have found no evidence to suggest the alleged incidents were brought to the attention of Channel 4. We will continue to review this in light of any further information we receive, including the accounts of those affected individuals."

Channel 4 said it would be asking the production company who made the programmes "to investigate these allegations and report their findings properly and satisfactorily to us".

The chair of the government's culture media and sport committee, Dame Caroline Dinenage MP, said it would be "closely monitoring the responses of the media, especially our public service broadcasters, to these allegations" as well as the "questions raised about the culture in the industry as a whole".

"The Sunday Times has reported some very serious and concerning allegations against Russell Brand," she said.

"In yet another story of alleged power exploitation within the TV industry, his behaviour has been characterised as an 'open secret' by those in his orbit."

Source: news.sky.com