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Earlier this year, an in-depth investigation by The Times, the Sunday Times and Channel 4's Dispatches, shared the stories of multiple women who've accused comedian and presenter, Russell Brand, of sexual assault and inappropriate workplace behaviour. The alleged incidents span the course of 2006 to 2013, many during the peak of his fame.
After these allegations (which Brand strongly denies and claims are a result of his work challenging the mainstream media), the Met Police also confirmed it has received further reports of "non-recent" accusations in relation to Brand from multiple other women, which are currently being investigated.
It's now also understood that the Met has interviewed Brand on the historic sexual offences and Scotland Yard has since told The Times (on 19 November 2023) that a man in his forties, thought to be Brand, had attended a police station in south London on Thursday, where he was questioned in relation to three "non-recent" alleged sexual offences.
Brand was interviewed under caution by detectives from the Met, which said that its investigation was continuing.
It comes after a second police force, Thames Valley, has said it has been contacted with "new information" relating to reports of "harassment and stalking" involving Brand.
Brand is a comedian who has always courted controversy, who spoke openly about his sexual prowess and preferences – with many people now suggesting that the comedian 'hid in plain sight'. The recent news reports have sparked fierce questioning about how much Brand’s agents and employers knew about his behaviour, and whether they enabled and emboldened him.
Cosmopolitan UK chronicles Brand’s staggering rise to fame, and the celebrity status he held when the incidents are alleged to have taken place.
Russell Brand’s early career: 2000 to 2002
One of Brand’s earliest roles was as a video journalist at MTV in 2000, where he presented the Dancefloor Chart. He was fired from the channel in 2001 after he turned up to work dressed as Osama Bin Laden, the day after the September 11 attacks.
He was similarly fired from his radio show on XFM in 2002, after he read pornographic material live on air.
It was after Brand went to rehab in 2003, to get clean from an alcohol and drug addiction, that he started to have mainstream success.
Russell Brand joins the Big Brother team: 2004 to 2007
Brand was hired to be the host of Big Brother’s Eforum in 2004. A spin-off show to the main action from the house, the programme gave ordinary people and celebrities to share their opinion on the housemates. The show was rebranded Big Brother’s Big Mouth in 2005. He left the show in 2007.
During this time, production staff on the programme told Dispatches that Brand would point out audience members and ask “the runner to get phone numbers.”
“It was like we were taking lambs into slaughter. We were basically acting like pimps to Russell Brand’s needs,” they said.
He also reportedly started a relationship with Rachel* – not her real name – who worked as a runner on the show. After flashing her and making jokes about oral sex in his dressing room, the two started a consensual relationship. Brand insisted the relationship had to remain a secret.
A statement from Banijay UK, which bought Endemol (the production team behind Big Brother) in 2020, said: “In light of the very serious allegations raised by Dispatches and The Times/Sunday Times investigation relating to the alleged serious misconduct of Russell Brand while presenting shows produced by Endemol in 2004 and 2005, Banijay UK has launched an urgent internal investigation and will co-operate with any requests for information from broadcast partners and external agencies.
“We also encourage anybody who feels that they were affected by Brand’s behaviour while working on these productions to contact us in confidence.”
Russell Brand on BBC Radio and MTV: 2006 to 2008
In 2006, Brand co-hosted The Russell Brand Show on BBC Radio 6 Music. It proved popular – the show transferred to BBC Radio 2 in November that year, airing on Saturdays from 9 to 11pm.
It was in 2006 where Brand met Alice, who is using a pseudonym to protect her identity.
Alice* was 16, and said she bumped into Brand on the street in London after a day of shopping. They soon started a relationship – Brand was 30 at the time and aware of Alice’s age.
Alice claims he’d use cars paid for by the BBC to pick her up and ferry her round to his house.
She also alleges that he removed a condom during sex without her consent, as well as forced oral sex on her and spat in her mouth.
During this time, Brand also had returned to MTV to host 1 Leicester Square, a chat show consisting of celebrity guests and musical entertainment. In a recently unearthed clip from the show, Brand is seen telling model Caprice to “get her knickers off”.
Not everyone was won over by Brand’s bad boy shtick he paraded at the time. In an interview in the Daily Mirror from 2006, Dannii Minogue described Brand as “a bit of a vile predator", adding, "I certainly don't think he has cured his sex addiction." She said that Brand "wouldn't take no for an answer" and "throughout the whole interview he kept making shocking remarks that I can't even repeat.”
Brand’s behaviour became more brash during this period. In 2007, he made a phone call to Jimmy Saville before his extensive child sex abuse crimes were made public knowledge. In this phone call, Brand said he’d send his “very attractive” personal assistant to “massage” Saville, as Saville joked she’d have to do it naked.
One woman, going by the pseudonym Olivia*, claims that Brand exposed himself to her when in the BBC’s Los Angeles office.
She alleges Brand followed her to the bathroom and insisted they had sex, before he showed her his genitals.
The incident was then discussed on Brand’s radio show. The episode, which was broadcast in June 2008 sees Brand’s colleague Matt Morgan say, "[It's been] 25 minutes since he showed his w**** to a lady", as Brand is heard laughing in the background.
Brand was sacked from the BBC in 2008, following the infamous Sachsgate incident. He and fellow comedian Jonathan Ross left a series of inappropriate messages on former Fawlty Towers star Andrew Sachs’s answerphone, where they discussed how Brand had previously had a fling with Georgina Baillie – Sachs’s granddaughter.
Following the allegations, 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.
"Indeed, the BBC has, over successive years, evolved its approach to how it manages talent and how it deals with complaints or issues raised.
"We have clear expectations around conduct at work. These are set out in employment contracts, the BBC Values, the BBC code of conduct and the anti-bullying and harassment policy.
"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.
Russell Brand heads to America to start a film career: 2008 to 2014
Having previously had bit parts in some films, Brand made his Hollywood breakthrough in Forgetting Sarah Marshall, where he played rockstar Aldous Snow, in 2008. It was a role he reprised in 2010 buddy comedy movie Get Him to the Greek, where he met Katy Perry. The pair married in India in 2010, with Brand divorcing her by text in 2012.
The film roles and superstar wife made Brand a household name across the pond, landing him his own late night talk show, Brand X, in 2012.
It was at the launch party for Brand X that he met Nadia*. He kissed her and they exchanged numbers. She went to his house once and had consensual sex with him. But it was on another occasion she claims she was raped.
“He comes running out of the bedroom naked. And I'm kind of taken aback. I've got a bag on my shoulder, a little dress and a coat on top,” she told Dispatches.
Nadia alleges that Brand pushed her against a wall and kissed her. She says he then told her that 'a friend' was waiting in his bedroom to join them.
She said: “I’m like, no, that’s not happening, I don’t care, that’s not happening, we’re not doing that.”
While trying to get away, Nadia claims she got caught under a painting, and Brand raped her without a condom.
Nadia later went to a rape treatment centre on the same day and went on to have therapy at the clinic for five months, according to documents seen by the Times.
A year later, the fourth accuser, Phoebe*, claimed to have met Brand at an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. They had a brief, consensual sexual relationship, and Brand hired her to work on a project with him.
While they were alone at his house together, he aggressively tried to have sex with Phoebe – pinning her down, trying to take her clothes off and putting his hands down her trousers.
After screaming at him to stop, he swore at her and told her she was fired. She left his house barefoot, running past a group of people heading to Brand’s for a business meeting.
She claimed that years later she bumped into a man who had been in that group who apologised for not helping her.
“He pulled me aside and he said to me, 'I have never forgiven myself for not running in that house to save you. I heard you screaming. And I didn't know what to do. And we were all so scared of him and I didn't do anything. And I am sorry.'”
Russell Brand returns to the UK and marries Laura Gallacher: 2014 to September 2023
Brand returned to the UK in 2014. In 2017, he married children’s author Laura Gallacher. The pair have two children and now live in Henley, Oxfordshire.
On 16 September, The Times, The Sunday Times and Channel 4’s Dispatches published an exposé on Russell Brand, which detailed allegations made against the comedian of rape, sexual assault, manipulation and emotional abuse.
The details around the claims are bone-chilling and horrific; one accuser gave a shocking account of how the comedian raped her in his Los Angeles home. Another claimed he sexually assaulted her after she was hired by him on a project. A third woman claimed she was groomed by Brand when she was just 16, before he forced oral sex on her. A fourth accuser claimed that Brand sexually assaulted and committed physical and emotional abuse against her.
In response to the allegations, Brand posted a video on his YouTube channel denying all the claims put to him.
“Amidst this litany of astonishing, rather baroque attacks are some very serious allegations that I absolutely refute,” he said. “The relationships I had were absolutely, always consensual.”
Police confirm they are investigating Russell Brand: September to Present Day
Two separate police forces, the Metropolitan and the Thames Valley, have publicly shared that fresh reports of wrongdoing involving Brand have been reported to officers.
The Met has confirmed to press that it has received a "number of allegations of sexual offences" since the Dispatches documentary aired, whilst, according to a BBC report, the Thames Valley Police force has been receiving numerous complaints from one woman – who alleges Brand harassed and stalked her – over the past few years (between 2018 and 2022). However, no further action was ever taken.
This particular case appears even thornier, as it's also reported that Brand claimed the same woman harassed him back in 2017.
Thames Valley Police confirmed it was looking into the new information but declined to comment further, saying it "it would be inappropriate to comment on an ongoing investigation".
Now, it is understood that the Met has interviewed Brand on the historic sexual offences.
Scotland Yard told the The Times (on 19 November 2023) that a man in his forties, thought to be Brand, had attended a police station in south London on Thursday, where he was questioned in relation to three "non-recent" alleged sexual offences under caution.
The investigation is still ongoing.
What happened after the allegations were made public?
Brand’s management, Tavistock Wood, have since dropped the star, saying they were “horribly misled” by the comedian and following the documentary, the Metropolitan Police confirmed that another woman had been in touch with them to report an incident with Brand that is alleged to have happened in 2003.
The Met also issued a further statement on 25 September, saying it has received multiple other complaints in relation to Brand.
"We received a number of allegations of sexual offences in London. We have also received a number of allegations of sexual offences committed elsewhere in the country and will investigate these," the statement reads. "The offences are all non-recent. Officers will be offering specialist support to all of the women who have made allegations."
Trevi, a women’s based charity that helps people dealing with addiction, have severed ties with Brand too, and Brand’s publisher, Bluebird, also announced it is "pausing" all of his future book projects after the allegations came to light.
The BBC director-general Tim Davie announced a review of Brand's time at the corporation between 2006 and 2008, as well as removing programming that featured Brand from iPlayer and BBC Sounds.
Brand’s nationwide tour has been postponed, and his YouTube channel, which boasts six million subscribers, has been demonitised.
The Times have also claimed that several more women have come forward to speak to them about Brand in the wake of their joint investigation with Dispatches.
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