Comedian Russell Brand has been accused of rape, sexual assaults and emotionally abusing four women during the height of his fame.
The comedian and presenter has vehemently denied the allegations, insisting that his prior relationships have been “absolutely always consensual”.
He has refuted the “very, very serious criminal allegations” and described the claims as “astonishing” and “rather baroque”.
In a joint investigation by The Times, The Sunday Times and Channel 4, the actor has been accused of sexually assaulting four women between 2006 and 2013. Others have accused Brand of predatory and abusive behaviour.
Between the years 2006 and 2013, Brand held several high-profile jobs within the media industry, including at BBC Radio 2 and Channel 4. Despite the publication of the allegations on Saturday afternoon, Brand pressed ahead with a scheduled comedy gig at the 2,000-seater theatre Troubadour Wembley Park.
He was met with applause by the sold-out crowd after arriving some 45 minutes late due to bad traffic. Though he reportedly alluded to the allegations during his hour-long set, he did not address them directly.
One of the most serious allegations made in The Sunday Times investigation was by a woman who alleged that Brand raped her in his Los Angeles home. She was forced up against a painting by Brand who proceeded to rape her despite her telling him to “get off, get off”, she claimed.
The woman had met Brand at a party previously and had met up with him in June 2012 to have consensual sex. On the night of the alleged assault, she had come round to his house after he apparently pleaded with her to come over. The woman said Brand was naked when she arrived and asked her to join him and “a friend” who was already in the bedroom.
It was when she refused that Brand pushed her up against the wall and assaulted her, she claimed.
According to a text message published by The Sunday Times, the woman texted Brand the next day saying “for u to take advantage of me like that is unexceptable. You have a problem, u need help... When a girl say NO it means no.”
Brand apparently replied “Im very sorry... I’m embarrassed by my behaviour”, according to the messages.
Another woman claims she was sexually assaulted by Brand the following year in early 2013. She had been working with Brand and had a brief sexual relationship with him prior to the alleged attack.
In the incident, she says she ended up trapped in a bedroom with Brand. She claims he was naked and pinned her onto the bed while she was fully clothed.
She was screaming “stop please, you’re my friend, I love you, please don’t do this”, the paper reported. Brand eventually relented and she left in tears, she claims.
Another woman claims that Brand took advantage of her when she was just 16. The woman said she met Brand in 2006 on a shopping trip to Oxford Circus when she was a teenager. The encounter developed into a relationship, in which she claims Brand referred to her as “the child”.
She claims that Brand once removed a condom during sex without her knowledge, and claims he sexually assaulted her towards the end of their relationship.
Describing what their first date was like, she told Channel 4: “I was a child that had got dressed up for dinner. I liked him and I felt a bit giddy and I felt special.”
In 2020, the woman contacted Brand’s literary agent at the time, who was also the co-founder of talent agency Tavistock Wood. She said she never heard back from the agent about her allegations but did hear back from Brand’s lawyer.
The agency has now cut ties with the comedian following the latest allegations. They said in a statement: “Russell Brand categorically and vehemently denied the allegation made in 2020, but we now believe we were horribly misled by him. TW has terminated all professional ties to Brand.”
One ex-girlfriend of Brand’s wrote about their relationship in a 2014 book. She claimed that she was sexually assaulted by Brand and that he had been emotionally and physically abusive towards her during their time together.
In one incident, Brand allegedly became angry with her when he found out she had spoken to an ex-boyfriend. He ripped apart her phone, she claimed. On another occasion, she said Brand made her brush her teeth until her gums bled so she would taste “anonymous” to him.
In a video posted ahead of The Times investigation, the 48-year-old said that he had received “two extremely disturbing letters” from both the newspaper and Channel 4 where they had detailed a “litany of extremely egregious and aggressive attacks”, all of which he denied.
“These allegations pertain to the time when I was working in the mainstream, when I was in the newspapers all the time, when I was in the movies,” he said.
“As I’ve written about extensively in my books, I was very, very promiscuous. Now, during that time of promiscuity, the relationships I had were absolutely always consensual.”
Concerns have also been raised about Brand’s behaviour during his time as a Channel 4 presenter. Two former crew members, who worked on a spin-off of Big Brother, claim that they were asked to approach young female audience members so that Brand could meet them after filming.
One runner claimed that Brand had flashed her in his dressing room, but that she felt she was unable to tell anyone for fear of losing her job. Complaints about Brand’s behaviour were allegedly reported back to managers at the production company, however a spokesperson for the company said no records of the complaints could be found.
One woman told the paper that a meeting had taken place at Channel 4 in late 2013 or early 2014 in which Brand was considered as a host for a show. Concerns about his behaviour were raised and it was reportedly considered that female staff could be taken off the TV crew.
A spokesperson for Channel 4 said they were 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.
“We have carried our extensive document searches and have found no evidence to suggest the alleged incidents were brought to the attention of Channel 4.”
Brand became known on the comedy circuit during the early 2000s as a stand-up comedian, performing at the Hackney Empire and the Edinburgh Fringe.
He surged to fame however as the host of Big Brother’s Big Mouth and began to host radio programmes on XFM and BBC 6 Music, before being granted a two-hour slot on BBC Radio 2.
His career was often marred in scandal however, and he left the BBC in 2008 after he and Jonathan Ross left offensive voicemail messages to actor Andrew Sachs which alluded to a sexual relationship with his granddaughter.
Known as Sachsgate, the controversy received 40,000 complaints and the BBC was fined £150,000 by Ofcom.
Turning to Hollywood, he starred in a number of films and presented major award ceremonies including the NME, MTV and Brit awards, with his two-year marriage to pop singer Katy Perry propelling him to further fame.
A BBC spokesperson said: “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.”
Rape Crisis offers support for those affected by rape and sexual abuse. You can call them on 0808 802 9999 in England and Wales, 0808 801 0302 in Scotland, and 0800 0246 991 in Northern Ireland, or visit their website at www.rapecrisis.org.uk.If you are in the US, you can call Rainn on 800-656-HOPE (4673)