NOTE: The following article contains disturbing content. Please read at your own discretion.
Four women have accused comedian Russell Brand of rape, sexual assault and emotional abuse as part of an exposé published by three U.K. news agencies.
The Sunday Times, The Times of London and Channel 4’s investigative program Dispatches shared the allegations from Brand’s accusers this weekend. All four women, who were unnamed, said Brand, 48, sexually assaulted them between 2006 and 2013, at the height of Brand’s mainstream fame.
Brand has vehemently denied all of the allegations made against him.
The comedian posted a video before the reports were made public and said two “mainstream media” companies had reached out to him about the story. He said he received “extremely disturbing” letters outlining the allegations against him.
“Amidst this litany of astonishing, rather baroque attacks are some very serious allegations that I absolutely refute,” he said. “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 and, as I have written about extensively in my books, I was very, very promiscuous.”
Brand said, despite his promiscuity, “the relationships I had were absolutely, always consensual.”
“I was always transparent about that then, almost too transparent, and I am being transparent about it now as well,” he continued.
Brand, who in recent years has become somewhat of a lifestyle guru and political commentator, questioned whether there is “another agenda at play.” He implied the allegations against him were part of a “coordinated media attack” conducted in retaliation for his public skepticism of mainstream news organizations, politics and his affiliations with podcasters like Joe Rogan.
The allegations against Brand
The four women whose allegations were included in the bombshell Brand exposé have accused the comedian of abusive, emotionally manipulative — and in some cases, predatory — behaviour.
One accuser said Brand began a relationship with her when she was only 16 and he was 31 years old. The woman said Brand often referred to her as “The Child” throughout their three-month relationship, which she also alleged was emotionally abusive. She said Brand asked her to read passages from Vladimir Nabokov’s novel Lolita, about a middle-aged man who kidnaps and sexually abuses a 12-year-old girl.
The woman told the media outlets Brand sexually assaulted her at his home shortly before their relationship ended. The anonymous accuser claimed Brand forced her to perform oral sex on him, and said he “engaged in the behaviours of a groomer.”
A second accuser alleged Brand raped her without a condom in his Los Angeles home in 2012. The woman said she was treated at a rape crisis centre the same day. (The Times independently confirmed the woman’s medical records.)
After the alleged rape, the woman said she texted Brand “When a girl say(s) NO it means no.” Brand reportedly replied and apologized over text.
The third woman accused Brand of sexually assaulting her in 2013 while they worked together in Los Angeles. She told the press that he threatened to sue her if she told anyone else about his apparent mistreatment.
The fourth accuser, who met Brand in the U.K., said the comedian was “physically and emotionally abusive” to her.
Among other allegations included in the multi-outlet exposé, Brand’s former personal assistant Helen Berger said she saw Brand share “intimate pictures of women” with his friends.
NOTE: The video below contains sexually graphic descriptions. Please watch at your own discretion.
In separate allegations, a runner said Brand once flashed his genitals at her in a dressing room and implied that she ought to perform oral sex.
Comedian Daniel Sloss told The Times he was aware of forums used by other female comedians and entertainers to warn one another about Brand and other alleged Hollywood abusers.
A number of old clips from Brand’s time as a radio DJ for the BBC and MTV U.K., where he started his career, have also resurfaced in the U.K. reports. One such radio clip sees Brand offer to bring his assistant to meet Jimmy Saville — the late media personality who sexually assaulted hundreds of people. Saville requested she be nude.
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Will there be a police investigation?
London’s Metropolitan Police said they are “aware of media reporting of a series of allegations of sexual assault” but have not received any official reports, according to the BBC.
“If anyone believes they have been the victim of a sexual assault, no matter how long ago it happened, we would encourage them to contact police,” the agency said.
The Los Angeles Police Department released a similar statement, claiming it has never been told “of any incidents, reports or allegations regarding Russell Brand or any of the accusers.”
Regardless, the U.K. chair of the Commons women and equalities committee, Caroline Nokes, and the pensions minister, Laura Trott, have both called for there to be a police investigation into Brand.
Nokes, in an appearance on BBC Radio 4’s Today program, said the allegations against Brand are “incredibly shocking and criminal.”
“I would very much hope that complaints will be made both to the Metropolitan Police and indeed in the States, because this merits and needs a criminal investigation, because for too long we have seen men – and the perpetrators of these sorts of crimes are almost invariably men – not being held to account for their behaviours and their actions,” she said.
A number of Brand’s former employers, including Channel 4, the BBC and Banjiay U.K., which produced the Big Brother spinoff hosted by Brand, Big Brother’s Big Mouth, have launched investigations into Brand’s conduct while an employee.
The comedian also had his publishing deal with Pan Macmillan imprint Bluebird suspended amid the outpouring of allegations.
“These are very serious allegations and in the light of them, Bluebird has taken the decision to pause all future publishing with Russell Brand,” a Bluebird representative told Variety.
Brand was slated to release a followup to his 2018 book Recovery: Freedom from our Addictions. It is not yet clear what will happen to Brand’s latest written work.
Brand rose to fame as a standup comic in Britain in the early 2000s, which led to starring roles on Channel 4 and later BBC Radio, where he capitalized on a reputation for outrageous behaviour and risqué banter.
He later made the jump to Hollywood, appearing in films such as Forgetting Sarah Marshall in 2008 and the remake of Arthur in 2011. Brand was married to U.S. pop star Katy Perry from 2010 to 2012.
In recent years, he transformed himself into a political commentator and influencer posting YouTube videos on subjects such as personal freedom and the COVID-19 pandemic.
— With files from The Associated Press
If you or someone you know is experiencing abuse or is involved in an abusive situation, please visit the Canadian Resource Centre for Victims of Crime for help. They are also reachable toll-free at 1-877-232-2610.