By: Nadia Liu
Comedian and actor Russell Brand is facing allegations of rape, sexual assault, and emotional abuse between 2006 and 2013. In an investigation published on Sept. 16 by three British news organizations — The Times of London, The Sunday Times, and Channel 4 — four women accused Brand of multiple incidents of sexual assault over a span of seven years. At the time, Brand was a presenter for BBC Radio 2 and Channel 4, later becoming a Hollywood actor, and, most recently, a wellness guru and anti-establishment influencer with millions of YouTube subscribers. He denies all allegations and maintains that all of his relationships were consensual.
One woman alleges that Brand raped her in his Los Angeles home and records show that a rape crisis center treated her on the day in question. A second woman accused Brand of forcing her to perform oral sex on him when she was 16 and he was 30, despite her pushing him away. Another woman claimed that the actor threatened to take legal action if she told anyone that he sexually assaulted her while they worked together in Los Angeles. The fourth described Brand sexually assaulting her, as well as physically and emotionally abusing her. The investigation contained complaints regarding Brand’s behavior in the workplace, including from anonymous Channel 4 production workers, claiming Brand would ask staff to approach female audience members so he could arrange to meet them after filming.
Brand released a video on his YouTube channel denying all allegations, stating, “Amidst this litany of astonishing, rather baroque attacks are some very serious allegations that I absolutely refute.” The comedian-turned-influencer went on to say that during the “time of promiscuity” in his life, all his relationships were “absolutely always consensual.”
Both Channel 4 and BBC have announced investigations into the allegations against Brand during his employment at their companies. The Metropolitan Police in London also released a statement declaring that they have been in touch with the journalists behind the investigation and encouraging any sexual assault victims to report it to the police.
Following the allegations, YouTube suspended Brand — who currently has 6.6 million subscribers — from making money from his videos. A spokesperson for YouTube stated that the platform suspended Brand for violating the creator responsibility policy and that, “If a creator’s off-platform behavior harms our users, employees or ecosystem, we take action to protect the community.” Tavistock Wood, a London-based talent agency, dropped the actor following the allegations, writing in a statement that they “now believe [they] were horribly misled” after Brand “categorically and vehemently denied” a sexual assault allegation first reported to the agency back in 2020. Two days after the allegations were published, Brand postponed the remaining dates of his comedy tour of Britain.
(Sources: Forbes, NY Times, The Sunday Times, The Times)