/ 18 September 2023

Things get serious for Russell Brand

Screenshot of Russell Brand from Instagram


The British comedian and actor Russell Brand has been accused of sexual assault by 4 women in a joint investigation by UK media outlets The Times/Sunday Times and Channel 4. Private emails, text messages and medical notes have been cited to corroborate the claims of the 4 anonymous women – one of whom was 16yo at the time of her alleged assault. The women say Brand assaulted them between 2006-13, when the actor/comedian and BBC presenter was mega-famous. The reports also say several other women have accused him of physical and emotional abuse, harassment, and bullying. Brand preemptively denied the claims via his social media on Saturday, saying that “the relationships I had were absolutely, always consensual.” 


Brand was an international star about a decade ago. He’s been on and off BBC radio shows, but he’s still a big name in the UK after reinventing himself as a podcaster/wellness guru/anti-establishment social media personality. On those platforms, he has an audience of 4 million on Instagram, 2.2 million on TikTok, and 6.59 million on YouTube, and he regularly strays into territory occupied by conspiracists… But going back to the start, Brand first rose to fame as a comedian in the early 2000s, known for talking about promiscuity and addiction, and he rose through the media as a host of a Big Brother spin-off before becoming a presenter on Britain’s Channel 4 and the BBC. In the 2010s, he landed major film roles, including Forgetting Sarah Marshall and Get Him to the Greek. He was also married to the pop star Katy Perry for 14 months before ending their relationship via text, just before she had to appear on stage. 


Russell is in the middle of a live tour, and he took to the stage on Saturday night just hours after the media investigation was published. He told the crowd that there are “obviously some things that I absolutely cannot talk about” before performing his show to a standing ovation from fans. As for criminal ramifications, London’s Metropolitan Police have said they haven’t received any reports of sexual assault, and that they’ll be speaking to the news publications “to ensure that any victims of crime who they have spoken with are aware of how they may report any criminal allegations to police.” The BBC, who employed Brand for some of the years covered by the allegations, said they’re “urgently looking into the issues raised.”

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