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BBC to investigate whether Russell Brand used its taxis to pick up 16-year-old girl

BBC boss promise ‘full transparency’ in Russel Brand’s investigation

Alisha Rahaman Sarkar
Wednesday 20 September 2023 08:05 BST
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Timeline of events around Russell Brand allegations

The BBC has promised to investigate whether Russell Brand used the broadcaster's taxis to pick up a 16-year-old girl amid allegations of rape and sexual assault against the comedian.

Mr Brand has been accused of using chauffer-driven BBC cars to drive a young woman around London.

The comedian, who presented a BBC radio show from 2006 to 2008, has strongly denied any wrongdoing.

Tim Davie, the director general of the BBC, told staff that an internal review would "look at any complaints made about Russell Brand's conduct during his time, what was known at the time, what was done".

He promised "full transparency" during the investigation.

Mr Davie said the review would specifically look into “the position regarding any cars used by the BBC at that time”, among other issues.

A woman named Alice alleged in an interview with BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour that a car provided by the BBC for Mr Brand collected her from school and took her to his house in 2006, when she was aged 16.

Now in her 30s, the woman claimed she used the broadcaster's cars on more than one occasion.

"He had a friend who was taking him to do his radio show so he said to me: ‘Oh, you get in the car and you go wherever you need to.’ So I took the BBC car that time.

“And on another occasion, it picked me up from school,” she said.

When asked what questions she would like the BBC to answer, Alice said she wants to know “why more wasn't done at the time" to protect young women.

Mr Brand has been accused of rape, assault and emotional abuse between 2006 and 2013, when he was at the height of his fame and working for the BBC, Channel 4 and starring in Hollywood films, following a joint investigation by The Times, Sunday Times and Channel 4’s Dispatches.

In her earlier interview with the Sunday Times, Alice said a driver warned her against going into Mr Brand’s home, saying that he had a daughter her age.

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She alleged that Brand referred to her as “the child” and sexually assaulted her in his home, only stopping when she punched him in the stomach.

The BBC has followed Channel 4 and Comedy Central in removing programmes featuring Mr Brand from its streaming services. His lucrative YouTube channel with over 6.6 million has already been blocked by the company from making money in light of the allegations against him.

Mr Davie said he wanted the BBC’s internal review to be completed in "weeks not months" while getting "to the facts".

Mr Brand resigned from the BBC in 2008 after a prank call on the show with comedian Jonathan Ross to actor Andrew Sachs.

“When I listened back, frankly, to some of those broadcasts I go, that is just completely unacceptable,” Mr Davie said, adding that the broadcaster has changed since then. “What led to that being on air?”

He continued: “There is no room for complacency. I do feel we’re in a different place, I’m proud of our culture, but to say that doesn’t mean there aren’t dangers.

“We should all be looking after each other, we should be very vigilant, we should keep improving our processes.”

Channel 4 has also announced a similar internal investigation against Mr Brand. Alex Mahon, the chief executive of Channel 4 in a letter to Dame Caroline Dinenage, said she was "appalled" by the allegations.

The company "carried out extensive document searches" but "found no evidence to suggest the alleged incidents were brought to the attention of Channel 4 management at the time", she said.

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