Russell Brand has been accused of rape, sexual assaults and emotional abuse during a seven-year period at the height of his fame.
Four women, including one who was just 16 at the time, have alleged sexual assaults occurred between 2006 and 2013, when Brand was working for BBC Radio 2 and Channel 4, as well as starring in Hollywood films.
The comedian and actor also faces allegations of controlling, abusive and predatory behaviour, following a joint investigation by The Sunday Times, The Times and Channel 4 Dispatches.
Brand vehemently denies the allegations and in a video posted online, stated all of his relationships have been “consensual”, before accusing the media of a “co-ordinated attack”.
It comes after Channel 4 Dispatches aired a 90-minute film titled Russell Brand: In Plain Sight on Saturday night, which saw four unidentified women detail their allegations, and other women speak of their experiences working with Brand on TV sets.
It included Brand’s former personal assistant Helen Berger, who called him a “narcissist” in an interview for the programme.
Meanwhile, Brand appeared as scheduled at the 2,000-capacity Troubadour Wembley Park Theatre in north-west London to perform a sold-out comedy gig on Saturday evening.
His show, titled Bipolarisation, had been due to begin at 7pm, but was delayed by more than 45 minutes and lasted around an hour.
While not directly addressing the allegations, audience members told the PA news agency Brand said he hoped they could “appreciate” there were things he could not talk about during the set.
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.”
“I was like, ‘oh my god, he raped me’”
Brand denies all accusations including rape, sexual assault and controlling and emotionally abusive behaviour. pic.twitter.com/XtNV5s91gk
— Channel 4 Dispatches (@C4Dispatches) September 16, 2023
Another woman alleges that Brand raped her at his Los Angeles home, while 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 his video statement, posted online ahead of the publication of the claims, Brand said he was facing a “litany of extremely egregious and aggressive attacks”.
The 48-year-old continued: “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.”
He continued: “Now during that time of 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.
“To see that transparency metastasised into something criminal, that I absolutely deny, makes me question is there another agenda at play.”
The Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee chair, Dame Caroline Dinenage, said that MPs would be “closely monitoring” the response to the allegations against Brand.
“The Sunday Times has reported some very serious and concerning allegations against Russell Brand. 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,” she said.
“The Culture, Media and Sport Committee are keen to understand the response of the police to the body of evidence collected. We will be closely monitoring the responses of the media, especially our public service broadcasters, to these allegations, and looking at the questions that this, yet again, raises about the culture in the industry as a whole.”
During his career, Brand achieved prominence as host of Big Brother’s spin-off show Big Mouth for three years until 2007.
In a statement, Channel 4 said: “Channel 4 is 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 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.”
The broadcaster added that in the years since the alleged incidents took place, there has been “extensive change” at Channel 4 and now has a “zero-tolerance approach to unacceptable behaviour and has a robust Code of Conduct”, it said.
In the wake of the #MeToo movement, Brand previously said he had no regrets about his previous sexual behaviour, claiming to have had intimate relationships with hundreds of women in the past.
In 2008, Brand made headlines for his BBC Radio 2 prank, now known as Sachsgate, when he and guest Jonathan Ross left a “lewd” voicemail for Fawlty Towers actor Andrew Sachs – who died in 2016 – about his granddaughter.
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.
“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.”
Brand was married to US pop star Katy Perry from 2010 to 2012 but is now married to Laura Gallacher, the sister of presenter Kirsty, and the pair have two children, Mabel and Peggy – with a third on the way.
On Saturday, Kirsty reposted Brand’s video on her Instagram story, along with a big red love heart, but the message later appeared to have been deleted.
In recent years, Brand has seemingly become a prominent conspiracy theorist, including his appearance on Newsnight with Evan Davis when he said he was open-minded about whether the 9/11 terror attacks had been faked by the American government.
With almost seven million followers on YouTube, Brand has used the social media outlet to cover topical news stories, including alleged misinformation surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic and being an outspoken sceptic of the vaccine.
Some of the most popular videos on Brand’s channel include suggesting a global Covid-19 cover-up and the Great Reset conspiracy theory which claims a global elite is using the pandemic to enforce radical social change.
His new live comedy show, Russell Brand Bipolarisation, has three dates left in September.