Russell Brand has been accused of rape, sexual assault and emotional abuse by four women in an investigation that sheds light on the comedian’s behaviour during the height of his fame.
The comedian and media personality has denied all the “very serious allegations” aimed at him, which date back to between 2006 and 2013.
Brand performed to a 2,000-strong crowd on Saturday night in Wembley Park Theatre – but did not directly address the allegations made as part of an investigation by The Sunday Times, The Times and Channel 4’s Dispatches programme.
The 48-year-old, originally from Essex, took to his YouTube channel on Friday as the allegations came to light and said any relationships “were absolutely always consensual,” during the “promiscuous” stage of his life. He labelled the claims “a litany of astonishing, rather baroque attacks”, which he vehemently denies.
Who is Russell Brand?
Brand sprang to fame in the mid-2000s when his loudmouth persona won him shows on E4 and MTV before Channel 4 and Radio 2. During his early period of fame he had much-reported drug addictions but after quitting in 2002 “filled that void with sex”.
The Sun named him “Shagger of the Year” three times and he had high-profile romances with Kate Moss and Katy Perry. He married the latter in a Hindu ceremony at a tiger sanctuary in Rajasthan, India, in 2010. Perry later told Vogue that Brand had told her of his desire to get a divorce by text message after just over a year of marriage. He has been married to Laura Gallacher since 2017.
In 2008, Brand resigned from the BBC after he and Jonathan Ross made a series of phone calls to actor Andrew Sachs when Brand claimed to have had sex with the actor’s granddaughter, Georgina Baillie. He went on to star in films, first British comedies such as St Trinians, before playing a British rock star character in US hit Forgetting Sarah Marshall.
Since 2013, Brand has increasingly turned his attention to social commentary, using interviews, books, and social media to broadcast his views on issues such as drugs, politics, sex and the media. He has 28 million followers across social media platforms and has organised wellness retreats and festivals.
What has Brand been accused of?
Brand has been accused of rape, sexual assault and emotionally abusing four women. Others have accused him of predatory behaviour.
The allegations were made in a Channel 4 Dispatches documentary on Saturday and in The Sunday Times as part of a coordinated release.
The Times said Brand entered a relationship with one of the women when he was 31 and she was aged just 16. On their first date, she claims he asked her to confirm if she was 16 and said: “I don’t give a f*** if you’re 1 2... I need to know where I stand legally.”
She claims that he sexually assaulted her at his home just before their relationship ended.
Another woman is said to have received treatment at a rape crisis centre after she claims she was raped by Brand. The Times said she later texted him to say “When a girl say[s] NO it means no” after the alleged attack, and that Brand sent a text back in apology.
The third complainant is said to have claimed Brand assaulted her in Los Angeles, with the star then threatening legal action if she took her case further. The Times reported that Brand was “physically and emotionally abusive” towards the fourth complainant.
One of those to be named by The Times is Helen Berger, Brand’s personal assistant in 2006, who said she saw Brand showing intimate photos of women to his friends. “It made me feel really sick to my stomach ... These are women who aren’t expecting to be shown to the dude’s friends,” she said.
Most of the women have not been named and their identities are protected under law.
What has Brand said?
Brand released a video through social media to deny all the allegations before the details came to light.
In it, said he had received a letter and an email from a “mainstream media TV company” and one from a newspaper listing the complaints against him.
Brand added that the list also included “stupid stuff” such as a festival he organises should be stopped and that he should not be able to attack mainstream media narratives.
“Amidst this litany of astonishing, rather baroque attacks are some very serious allegations that I absolutely refute,” he said in the video.
“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’ve written about extensively in my books I was very, very promiscuous.
“Now during that time of promiscuity, the relationships I had were absolutely, always consensual.”
He went on to claim he was the victim of a “coordinated attack”.
The Independent has approached Brand’s representatives for further comment.