Police Urged To Probe Sex Assault Accusations Against Comedian Russell Brand, Who Says His Freedom of Speech Is Under ‘Attack’
A Conservative legislator calls for authorities in Britain and the United States to investigate the ‘incredibly shocking’ allegations amid questions about whether the comedian’s bad behavior went unchallenged because of his fame.
A senior British politician on Monday urged police to investigate sexual assault allegations against Russell Brand, as entertainment industry figures faced questions about whether the comedian’s bad behavior went unchallenged because of his fame.
Mr. Brand denies allegations of sexual assault made by four women in a Channel 4 television documentary and the Times and Sunday Times newspapers and contends his freedom of speech is being threatened by a “coordinated attack,” the Guardian reports.
The accusers, who have not been named, include one who said she was sexually assaulted during a relationship with him when she was 16. Another woman says Mr. Brand raped her in Los Angeles in 2012.
Mr. Brand, 48, has rejected all the claims, saying in a video statement that his relationships were “always consensual.”
The Times said Monday that more women had contacted the newspaper with allegations against Mr. Brand and they would be “rigorously checked.”
A Conservative legislator, Caroline Nokes, who chairs the House of Commons Women and Equalities Committee, urged police in both Britain and the United States to investigate the “incredibly shocking” allegations.
“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 behaviors and their actions,” she told BBC radio.
Mr. Brand denied the accusations and is claiming they are “linked to an attack on his freedom of speech,” the Guardian reports.
The comedian contends he faces a “coordinated attack” from the “mainstream media outlets who published the allegations,” the Guardian says, including Channel 4’s Dispatches, the Times, and the Sunday Times, and calls the accusations a “serious and concerted agenda” to stifle him.
“It’s been clear to me, or at least it feels to me, like there’s a serious and concerted agenda to control these kind of spaces, and these kind of voices, and I mean my voice along with your voice,” he said, the Guardian reported, and concluded his online broadcast by urging viewers to “stay free”.
Billionaire Elon Musk spoke up in support of Mr. Brand online, responding to the comedian’s claims that his free expression was being quashed with the comment “Of course. They don’t like competition,” the Guardian reported. In regard to Mr. Brand, Mr. Musk remarked on Twitter: “No more canceling. Enough is enough.”
London’s Metropolitan Police force said it would 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.”
The claims have renewed debate about the “lad culture” that flourished in Britain in the 1990s and early 2000s, and the misogyny that still percolates on the internet.
The allegations reported by the newspapers and Channel 4 cover the period between 2006 and 2013, when Mr. Brand was a major star in Britain with a growing American profile.
Known for his unbridled and risqué standup routines, he hosted shows on radio and television, wrote memoirs charting his battles with drugs and alcohol, appeared in several Hollywood movies and was briefly married to pop star Katy Perry between 2010 and 2012.
Mr. Brand was suspended by the BBC in 2008 for making lewd prank calls to “Fawlty Towers” actor Andrew Sachs in which he boasted about having sex with Sachs’ granddaughter. He quit his radio show in the wake of the incident, which drew thousands of complaints to the publicly funded broadcaster.
The BBC, Channel 4 and the production company behind the “Big Brother” reality series — spinoffs of which were hosted by Mr. Brand — all say they have launched investigations into Mr. Brand’s behavior and how complaints were handled.
In recent years Mr. Brand has built up a large following online with videos mixing wellness and conspiracy theories.
His YouTube channel, which has more than 6 million subscribers, includes Covid conspiracies, provocative claims about vaccines, and interviews with right-wing broadcasters including Tucker Carlson and Joe Rogan.
He also continues to tour as a comedian, performing to hundreds of people in a London venue on Saturday evening as the Channel 4 documentary was broadcast.