Entertainment industry has questions to answer over Russell Brand allegations, says cabinet minister

A senior cabinet minister has said that the entertainment industry has questions to answer following allegations of rape and sexual abuse levelled at comedian Russel Brand while he was working in UK television.

James Cleverly, the Foreign Secretary, yesterday said across politics, film and entertainment, more needs to be done to remain “vigilant” against misconduct in jobs that have significant “power differentials” and “long hours”.

“In those environments, I think institutionally we need to be particularly vigilant,” he told Sky News.

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“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.”

James Cleverly appearing on the BBC 1 current affairs programme, Sunday With Laura Kuenssberg.James Cleverly appearing on the BBC 1 current affairs programme, Sunday With Laura Kuenssberg.
James Cleverly appearing on the BBC 1 current affairs programme, Sunday With Laura Kuenssberg.

The Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee chairwoman Dame Caroline Dinenage said MPs would be “closely monitoring” the response to the allegations against Brand.

It comes after Mr Brand was accused by four women of separate allegations of sexual assault as part of a joint investigation by the Sunday Times, Times and Channel 4’s Dispatches

The former comedian, who rose to fame in the 2000s comedy and entertainment scene, has denied the allegations.

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Yesterday Channel 4 and production company Banijay UK launched internal investigations into allegations of serious misconduct, while the BBC said it is “urgently looking into the issues raised”.

Mr Brand was accused of pursuing audience members for sex while presenting Big Brother spin-off shows for Channel 4, while other allegations related to the time he was a radio presenter for the BBC.

The BBC also said it is “urgently looking into the issues raised” while Brand worked on BBC radio programmes between 2006 and 2008, having first appeared on BBC 6 Music in April 2006 before he was moved to Radio 2 that November.

The Metropolitan Police said it will speak to The Sunday Times and Channel 4 to ensure “any victims of crime who they have spoken with are aware of how they may report any criminal allegations to police”.

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Mr Brand, 48, was also accused of rape, sexual assault and emotional abuse between 2006 and 2013, when he was working for the BBC and Channel 4 and starring in Hollywood films.

The actor and comedian vehemently denies the allegations and, in a video posted online, said all of his relationships have been “consensual”, before accusing the media of a “co-ordinated attack”.

Following the allegations, which were aired during a Channel 4 Dispatches special titled Russell Brand: In Plain Sight, the Trevi women and children’s charity in the UK announced it had ended its association with Brand and his charity, the Stay Free Foundation.

A statement on Instagram said: “Russell became aware of our charity in 2022 after hearing about some of the incredible mothers we have helped to become drug-free over the years.

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“He wanted to support our cause and raise money through his Stay Free Foundation.”

The charity said it had been “deeply saddened and upset” following the allegations against Brand, adding: “We have ended our association with Russell Brand and the Stay Free Foundation.”

The allegations made against Brand include one woman who claims she was sexually assaulted during a three-month relationship with him when she was 16 and still at school.

The woman described his behaviour towards her as “grooming”, as he would allegedly provide her with scripts on how to deceive her parents into allowing her to visit him.

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In 2020, the woman contacted Brand’s literary agent at the time, who was also the co-founder of talent agency Tavistock Wood.

A statement given to the PA news agency by Tavistock Wood said: “Russell Brand categorically and vehemently denied the allegation made in 2020, but we now believe we were horribly misled by him. TW has terminated all professional ties to Brand.”

Another woman alleges that Brand raped her at his Los Angeles home, and a third claims that Brand sexually assaulted her while she worked with him in Los Angeles, and threatened to take legal action if she told anyone of the allegation.

A fourth woman claims she was sexually assaulted by Brand and alleges that he was physically and emotionally abusive towards her.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​