Trigger warning: This article contains descriptions of sexual violence.
The fallout from allegations of sexual assault against comedian Russell Brand continued to pile up on Monday (Sept. 18), when YouTube said that it had suspended the monetization of Brand’s account “following serious allegations against the creator,” according to the Associated Press. The move means that Brand, 48, will no longer make money from the site — where his feed has 6.6 million subscribers — in the wake of a four women accusing the stand-up-turned-social-influencer of rape, sexual assault and abuse.
In addition to losing out on money from the ads that run alongside his YouTube videos, the AP reported that one-time employer the BBC had removed some of Brand’s material from its streaming archive as a number of organizations distanced themselves from the polarizing performer, who has denied the allegations and has not been charged with any criminal offenses to date.
Brand was a host/presenter for BBC from 2006-2008 and some of the incidents he’s accused of happened during that time period, leading the BBC to say it is “urgently looking into the issues raised” by a bombshell investigative documentary published jointly last week by The Sunday Times, The Times of London and Channel 4’s Dispatches program.
In a statement, Brand denied the allegations from the unnamed women and said that all of his relationships have been consensual. “Amidst this litany of astonishing, rather baroque attacks are some very serious allegations that I absolutely refute,” he said in the statement. “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 have written about extensively in my books, I was very, very promiscuous.”
The investigation included claims from one woman who alleged she’d been raped by Brand in Los Angeles in 2012, while three others accused Brand of sexual assault ,including one who said the alleged assault occurred during a relationship with him when she was 16. One of the women also said he had been physically and emotionally abusive; the allegations date from 2006-2013, with the London Metropolitan Police saying that since the allegations were publicly aired they’ve received a report of another alleged sexual assault from 2003.
Brand also suggested in his statement that the reports were part of a coordinated attack designed to discredit him because of his divisive views, which he has aired on YT in such clips as “What REALLY Started the Hawaii Fires?” and “Covid Tsar Admits Lockdowns Were NEVER About Science.” Brand has been criticized for expressing skepticism about COVID-19 vaccines and interviewing contentious podcasters, including Joe Rogan and fired Fox News commenter Tucker Carlson as part of his recent shift from routines aimed at dissecting religion, social inequity and political hypocrisy toward bits seemingly aimed at a conservative American audience.
Though Brand performed in London on Saturday, the final three dates of his current “Bipolarisation” tour has been postponed according to the promoter, even as Brand has been dropped by his talent agency and publisher, Bluebird, over the past week. NBC News also reported that Brand’s literary talent agency, Tavistock Wood, had dropped him following the Times report, which claimed that one of Brand’s accusers had made allegations to the agency in 2020 and received a “very aggressive” response from Brand’s legal team.
“Russell Brand categorically and vehemently denied the allegation made in 2020, but we now believe we were horribly misled by him,” the agency said in a statement. “TW has terminated all professional ties to Brand.” NBC also reported that the U.K. women’s charity for women in recovery, Trevi Women, had cut ties with Brand after the doc aired.
“We have ended our association with Russell Brand and the Stay Free Foundation,” the charity said in a statement, referring to Brand’s charity that supports people recovering from addiction.
One Brand’s former co-stars, Kristen Bell, appeared to have issued a warning about the comedian in a 2010 interview with the Scottish Daily Record, in which she said, “He didn’t try to mess with me on the set or get in my pants. He knew I would lop his nuts off.” Bell appeared with Brand in the 2008 comedy Forgetting Sarah Marshall, in which she breaks up with boyfriend Peter (Jason Segel) and begins a relationship with narcissistic, sex-addicted rocker Aldous Snow (Brand) during a trip to Hawaii.
In another interview with the Daily Mail that same year, Bell — who did not respond to the new reports of Brand’s alleged actions — said, “I made it really clear from the beginning that I would sock him in the balls if he tried anything. So he was intimidated. Noting that she “loved” working with Brand, Bell added that she was possibly “the only woman in the world who would shout that from the rooftops.”
Stories about sexual assault allegations can be traumatizing for survivors of sexual assault. If you or anyone you know needs support, you can reach out to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN). The organization provides free, confidential support to sexual assault victims. Call RAINN’s National Sexual Assault Hotline (800.656.HOPE) or visit the anti-sexual violence organization’s website for more information.
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