British comedian Nish Kumar has said there are still predatory comedians out there at large that “we can’t name” out of fear of legal repercussions.
The former Mash Report host, 38, made the admission on the latest episode of his Pod Save the UK podcast after claiming that the recent sexual allegations against Russell Brand were an “open secret” in the comedy world.
Last weekend, Channel 4, The Sunday Times and The Times released a joint investigation, alleging Brand, 48, had raped, sexually harassed and been abusive towards four women between 2006 and 2013.
Brand has vehemently denied the allegations made against him.
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Of Brand’s alleged behaviour, Kumar claimed that “this is a well-known open secret in the comedy circuit”.
“It’s been something that’s been talked about, to my knowledge, in the last five years. It’s been pretty openly discussed in the comedy industry. I think I remember first hearing about it in mid-2017,” he said.
Kumar went on to allege that there are still comedians at large who are the “subject of open secrets”.
“There are still people who work in comedy who we can’t name. Again, because of the threat of lawsuits,” he said. “There are still people working in comedy who people will say: ‘Oh, we don’t send young women into their dressing rooms.”
Asked by his podcast co-host Coco Khan if he knew that Brand would be the subject of the joint investigation ahead of its release, Kumar replied: “Yes.”
Kumar then posed his theory that Brand’s career in the UK started to “dry up” around the time word started to get out about his alleged actions.
“I think if you look at Russell Brand’s IMDb page, you see that his television work in Britain starts to dry up around 2018, 2019,” the Hello America presenter noted. “And that’s simply because increasingly people were just not willing to work with him.
“Everyone was afraid to talk about it, because of threat of lawsuits. The only power people had was to withdraw participation from shows involving Russell Brand.”
He then argued that it was time for the industry to recognise “our systematic and institutional failures”, explaining: “We have a tendency to prosecute the individual and allow the system to go unconsidered.”