Russell Brand’s Australia gig cancelled as Paramount+, Channel 4 and BBC pull shows

CEO of Wanderlust Festival said that the decision was made together with Brand

Annabel Nugent
Wednesday 20 September 2023 09:13 BST
Timeline of events around Russell Brand allegations

An appearance from Russell Brand at an Australian festival next year has been cancelled after a number of sexual assault allegations were made against the comedian.

Brand, 48, had been due to take part in The Wanderlust Festival in February 2024. Both the festival and Brand have agreed not to proceed with his shows.

The decision was made after a joint investigation, published over the weekend, by The Sunday Times, The Times, and Channel 4 Dispatches, revealed that four women have made allegations of rape, sexual assault, and emotional abuse against Brand.

His alleged actions took place between 2005 and 2013, during which time Brand acted as a presenter for both BBC Radio 2 and Channel 4. Brand has vehemently denied all claims.

The outlets have since reported that several more women have come forward with similar allegations, which are now being “rigorously checked”.

“Due to the circumstances that have recently come to light, Wanderlust and Russell Brand have agreed that Mr Brand will not be appearing at the Wanderlust Festival,” chief executive officer of Wanderlust, Charlotte Hill, wrote in a statement.

Earlier this year, Brand had been announced as a speaker for the wellness festival, which is held across Brisbane, Sydney, and Melbourne.

On the Wanderlust Festival website, a page introduces Brand as a “recognised spokesperson on the subject of addication and recovery”. In 2017, the podcaster released his book Recovery: Freedom From Our Addictions.

While Brand will no longer perform at the Australian comedy festival, other stars including Nick Broadhurst, Xavier Rudd, and Lola Berry will appear at a separate Wanderlust event held in Gold Coast and Sydney.

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The news follows after Brand postponed the remaining live shows on his Bipolarisation tour.

“We are postponing these few remaining addiction charity fundraiser shows, we don’t like doing it – but we know you’ll understand,” the tour’s promoters announced in a one-line statement.

He had been scheduled to perform on Tuesday (19 September) at the Theatre Royal Windsor, with later dates in Wolverhampton and Plymouth.

Brand’s publishing deal with Pan Macmillan’s imprint Bluebird has also been suspended.

Channel 4, meanwhile, has removed a number of TV episodes in which he starred, including a 2019 episode of The Great Celebrity Bake Off and the Big Brother box sets that he appeared on.

The programme has said it is launching an internal enquiry into Brand’s alleged behaviour and crimes, encouraging “anyone who is aware of such behaviour to contact us directly”.

You can follow along with all updates concerning the allegations made against Brand at The Independent’s live blog here.

Rape Crisis offers support for those affected by rape and sexual abuse. You can call them on 0808 802 9999 in England and Wales, 0808 801 0302 in Scotland, and 0800 0246 991 in Northern Ireland, or visit their website at www.rapecrisis.org.uk.

If you are in the US, you can call Rainn on 800-656-HOPE (4673)

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