The BBC, Channel 4 and a production company have said they are “urgently” investigating after four women made separate allegations of sexual assault while Russell Brand was a presenter on their programmes.
The comedian and actor, 48, has been accused of rape and sexual assaults between 2006 and 2013, when he was at the height of his fame and working for the BBC, Channel 4 and starring in Hollywood films.
The claims were made in a joint investigation by The Sunday Times, The Times and Channel 4 Dispatches, and include allegations about Brand’s controlling, abusive and predatory behaviour.
Brand vehemently denies the allegations and said all of his relationships have been “consensual”, in a video posted online.
The BBC said it is “urgently looking into the issues raised” while Brand worked on BBC radio programmes between 2006 and 2008, while Channel 4 announced it is conducting “its own internal investigation” following the allegations.
A Channel 4 statement added: “We will be writing to all our current suppliers reminding them of their responsibilities under our Code of Conduct, as we are committed to ensuring our industry has safe, inclusive and professional working environments.”
It comes after Brand was accused of pursuing audience members for sex while presenting Big Brother spin-off shows EFourum and Big Brother’s Big Mouth on Channel 4.
A researcher claimed concerns about Brand’s behaviour were reported to production managers at Endemol, the company commissioned by Channel 4 to produce the programmes in 2004 and 2005, but were dismissed.
Banijay UK, which bought Endemol in 2020, later announced it had launched an “urgent internal investigation” and encouraged “anybody who feels that they were affected by Brand’s behaviour” to come forward.
Since publication, The Times said it has been contacted by “several women” with claims about Brand, but said their allegations have not yet been investigated and “will now be rigorously checked”.
The Metropolitan Police said it will speak to The Sunday Times and Channel 4 to ensure “any victims of crime who they have spoken with are aware of how they may report any criminal allegations to police”.
A spokesman for the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) told the PA news agency that they do not have an open investigation into Brand, and another confirmed there had been no arrests following two allegations that are said to have happened in the US.
Meanwhile, questions are now being asked about whether TV chiefs were aware of any concerns about Brand’s behaviour while working on their programmes.
Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee chairwoman Dame Caroline Dinenage said MPs would be “closely monitoring” the response to the allegations against Brand while Foreign Secretary James Cleverly, speaking on the BBC on Sunday, suggested there were wider questions for the entertainment industry to answer.
The allegations made against Brand include one woman who claims she was sexually assaulted during a three-month relationship with him when she was 16 and still at school.
The woman described his behaviour towards her as “grooming” as he would allegedly provide her with scripts on how to deceive her parents into allowing her to visit him.
In 2020, the woman contacted Brand’s literary agent at the time, who was also the co-founder of talent agency Tavistock Wood.
A statement given to the PA news agency by Tavistock Wood said: “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.”
Another woman alleges that Brand raped her at his Los Angeles home, and a third claims that Brand sexually assaulted her while she worked with him in Los Angeles, and threatened to take legal action if she told anyone of the allegation.
A fourth woman claims she was sexually assaulted by Brand and alleges that he was physically and emotionally abusive towards her.
In a video statement posted online ahead of the publication of the claims, Brand said he was facing a “litany of extremely egregious and aggressive attacks”.
“Amidst this litany of astonishing, rather baroque attacks are some very serious allegations that I absolutely refute,” he said.
Following the allegations made in Dispatches’ Russell Brand: In Plain Sight, the Trevi women and children’s charity in the UK said it had cut ties with Brand and his charity, the Stay Free Foundation.
On Brand’s website, the Stay Free Foundation is described as a charitable organisation that focuses on “supporting people through recovery from addiction, their mental health issues and the non-profit organisations that help them”.
It says it makes “regular donations” to treatment centres such as Friendly House in Los Angeles and BAC O’Connor in the UK, while also supporting the Trevi charity and the Treasures Foundation.
In a statement to the PA news agency, the Treasures Foundation said it only knows Brand in the “the capacity of him wanting to make amends and give back to women”.
A statement added: “We can’t make an opinion on what has come out right now. We just know him for the good that he does now.”
Brand was rehabilitated from heroin addiction in the early 2000s and has since released his part personal memoir and part self-help guide titled Recovery: Freedom From Our Addictions, as well as setting up his Community festival, which sees all the profits donated to the Stay Free Foundation.
In the wake of the MeToo movement, Brand previously said he had no regrets about his earlier sexual behaviour, claiming to have had intimate relationships with hundreds of women in the past.
Brand was married to US pop star Katy Perry from 2010 to 2012, and is now married to Laura Gallacher, the sister of presenter Kirsty Gallacher. The couple have two children, Mabel and Peggy, with a third on the way.
In recent years Brand has seemingly become a prominent conspiracy theorist, using his YouTube channel with millions of followers to cover topical news stories, including alleged misinformation surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic and being an outspoken sceptic of vaccination.
His latest live comedy show, Russell Brand Bipolarisation, has three tour dates remaining in September.
As Dispatches aired on Saturday evening, Brand appeared as scheduled at the 2,000-capacity Troubadour Wembley Park Theatre in north-west London to perform a sold-out comedy gig.
While not directly addressing the allegations, audience members told the PA news agency that Brand said he hoped they could “appreciate” there were things he could not talk about during the set.