The Metropolitan Police has responded to allegations against Russell Brand, saying it encourages victims of sexual assault to contact the force.
Four women have accused Brand of sexual assaults between 2006 and 2013 while the comedian was at the height of his fame, in a joint investigation by The Sunday Times and Channel 4 Dispatches.
He denies all the allegations against him.
A Met Police spokesperson said: “We are aware of media reporting of a series of allegations of sexual assault. At this time, we have not received any reports in relation to this.
“If anyone believes they have been the victim of a sexual assault, no matter how long ago it happened, we would encourage them to contact police.
“We spoke with The Sunday Times on Saturday 16 September. We will be making further approaches to The Sunday Times and Channel 4 to ensure that any victims of crime who they have spoken with are aware of how they may report any criminal allegations to police.”
It comes as:
• Channel 4 and production company Banijay UK have both launched investigations
• BBC said it was “urgently looking into the issues raised”
• Elon Musk and Andrew Tate were among those appearing to offer Brand support
• Charity Trevi Women cuts ties with the comedian
• Foreign Secretary James Cleverly called for quicker responses to such claims
• A parliamentary committee said it would “closely monitor” the issue
• Amnesty International said the claims were “shocking” but it received no complaints
Th BBC said in a statement: “The documentary and associated reports contained serious allegations, spanning a number of years.
“Russell Brand worked on BBC radio programmes between 2006 and 2008 and we are urgently looking into the issues raised.”
The allegations against Russell Brand in full
From drug addict to controversial comedy star
A Channel 4 spokesperson said: “We have asked the production company who produced the programmes for Channel 4 to investigate these allegations and report their findings properly and satisfactorily to us.
“Channel 4 is also conducting its own internal investigation, and we would encourage anyone who is aware of such behaviour to contact us directly.”
Banijay UK owns Endermol, which produced The Channel 4 show Big Brother and its spin-offs, on which Brand worked at the time of some of the claims.
It said in a statement: “In light of the very serious allegations relating to the alleged serious misconduct of Russell Brand while presenting shows produced by Endemol in 2004 and 2005, Banijay UK has launched an urgent internal investigation and will co-operate with any requests for information from broadcast partners and external agencies.
“We also encourage anybody who feels that they were affected by Brand’s behaviour while working on these productions to contact us in confidence.”
The charity Trevi Women, which supports mothers recovering from drug addiction, announced on Saturday it was cutting ties with Brand.
Amnesty International described the allegations as “shocking” but said no complaints or concerns were raised when Brand took part in its Secret Policeman’s Ball fund-raising gigs in 2006 and in 2012.
But it urged women to come forward “if there is anything that they experienced at that time that is of concern”.
‘Certain things I can’t discuss’
Elon Musk, controversial influencer Andrew Tate and former Fox News host Tucker Carlson were among those to react to the claims on social media this weekend, with posts appearing to support the 48-year-old comic.
A video by Brand in which he denied the claims was also shared online by TV star turned radio host, Kirsty Gallacher, who is the older sister of Brand’s wife Laura. She later deleted the post.
Brand performed at a comedy show in London on Saturday evening after the allegations came out, telling fans he loved them but that there were “certain things” he “could not discuss”.
Brand has three more dates for his Bipolarisation live show tour, with his next a sell-out in Windsor, before appearances in Plymouth and Wolverhampton.
‘I feel like I’m being attacked’
Ahead of the publication of the claims, Brand, who has in recent years repositioned himself as a wellness guru and critic of the mainstream media, released a video entitled “So, This is Happening” in which he described the claims as “a litany of extremely egregious and aggressive attacks”.
Brand said in the clip: “As I’ve written about extensively in my books, I was very, very promiscuous.
“I don’t mind them using my books and my stand-up to talk about my promiscuous consensual conduct in the past. What I seriously refute are these very, very serious criminal allegations.”
He added: “Also, it’s worth mentioning that there are witnesses whose evidence directly contradicts the narrative that these two mainstream media outlets are trying to construct, apparently, in what seems to me to be a coordinated attack.”
Signing off the video, he said: “Now, I don’t wanna get into this any further because of the serious nature of the allegations, but I feel like I’m being attacked and plainly they’re working very closely together.
“We are obviously going to look into this matter ‘cause it’s very, very serious.”
Cleverly calls for quick response to concerns
Meanwhile, the foreign sectetary spoke to Sky News about the dangers of “sharp differentials in power” following the allegations against Brand.
Mr Cleverly did not comment specifically on the allegations but told Sunday Morning with Trevor Phillips: “We see that [sharp differentials in power] in the film industry, the entertainment industry and sadly, of course, we sit in the area that I work in terms of politics, where you have very, very significant power differentials, long working hours, people in that environment.”
He added: “We need to make sure that we are going out of our way to protect the people that have less power than those around them. We need to respond to their concerns very, very quickly when they are highlighted.”
The Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee chair, Dame Caroline Dinenage, also promised that MPs will “closely monitoring” the response to the allegations against Brand.
Source : Sky News