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Channel 4 finds ‘no evidence’ bosses knew about Russell Brand allegations

Channel 4 finds ‘no evidence’ bosses knew about Russell Brand allegations

An internal investigation by Channel 4 has said that there is “no evidence” that its bosses were aware of allegations against Russell Brand.

Complaints against the 48-year-old comedian were made to the BBC and Metropolitan Police after a Channel 4 Dispatches and Sunday Times investigation aired in September revealed accusations by four women of rape, sexual assault and abuse between 2006 and 2013.

Brand has strongly denied all accusations said to have taken place while at the height of his fame between 2006 and 2013. He recently told former Fox News host Tucker Carlson in a YouTube video that the claims were “very, very hurtful”.

Channel 4 has been forced to question how much its bosses were aware of since the presenter worked on the broadcaster’s programmes Big Brother’s Big Mouth and Kings Of Comedy between 2004 and 2007.

A report, released by Channel 4 on Thursday, said: “The investigation found no evidence to suggest that there was knowledge within the channel of the allegations contained in the Dispatches programme about Russell Brand’s behaviour while he was a presenter on Big Brother’s Big Mouth and Kings Of Comedy between 2004 and 2007.

“No evidence was found to substantiate the allegation in the programme that Russell Brand’s behaviour had been discussed in a commissioning meeting in 2014.”

Following the Dispatches documentary airing in September, two reports were made to the broadcaster’s Speak Up facility.

An allegation made in 2009 by a staff member, which concerned Russell Brand’s conduct towards them, revealed “specific shortcomings” by Channel 4, according to the report.

The report said: “That allegation was not passed up Channel 4’s senior management chain, nor investigated as it ought to have been in accordance with the procedures in place at the time.

Brand told former Fox News host Tucker Carlson in a YouTube video that the claims were ‘very, very hurtful’ (PA Wire)
Brand told former Fox News host Tucker Carlson in a YouTube video that the claims were ‘very, very hurtful’ (PA Wire)

“Channel 4 also acknowledges delays in its ongoing communications with the former employee in 2023 due to the length of its investigation.

“Channel 4 has apologised to the former Channel 4 staff member for the breakdown in 2009, communication delays in 2023 and the distress this matter has caused.”

One anonymous report with “limited information” was not “substantiated”, the investigation said.

The Independent has contacted Brand’s representatives for comment.

Investigators also examined what was known by “senior levels” at the broadcaster, when Brand was a contestant on The Great Celebrity Bake Off: Stand Up To Cancer, which was filmed in 2018, but not broadcast until March 2019.

The Russell Brand: In Plain Sight Dispatches programme was commissioned in December 2019.

“While the investigation found that the recollections of former and current Channel 4 staff interviewed varied about when concerns around Russell Brand started to circulate within the commissioning team, the investigating team found no written or corroborated evidence to show that suspicions of serious allegations about Russell Brand’s behaviour were held within the channel before the special was broadcast,” the report said.

“No record was found of concerns being raised within Channel 4, or in public, at the time of Russell Brand’s casting in the Celebrity Bake Off Stand Up To Cancer special or after its broadcast in March 2019.”

According to the investigation published in September, Brand allegedly entered a relationship with one of the women when he was 31 and she was aged 16. On their first date, she claims he asked her to confirm if she was 16 and said: “I don’t give a f*** if you’re 12 ... I need to know where I stand legally.”

Channel 4 said that there was no prior knowledge within the channel of the allegations contained in the Dispatches programme (PA Archive)
Channel 4 said that there was no prior knowledge within the channel of the allegations contained in the Dispatches programme (PA Archive)

She claims that he sexually assaulted her at his home just before their relationship ended.

Another woman is said to have received treatment at a rape crisis centre after she claims she was raped by Brand. The Times said she later texted him to say “When a girl say[s] NO it means no” after the alleged attack, and that Brand sent a text back in apology.

The third complainant is said to have claimed Brand assaulted her in Los Angeles, with the star then threatening legal action if she took her case further. The Times reported that Brand was “physically and emotionally abusive” towards the fourth complainant.

The allegations also included controlling, abusive and predatory behaviour, which he denies.

In an interview with former Fox News broadcaster Tucker Carlson, Brand said it was “very, very painful” to be accused of “the most appalling crimes”.

The journalistic investigation, which dominated international news headlines, was published while his infant son was undergoing heart surgery, Brand also said.

“I suppose what that did is it revealed that what we were experiencing was a public concoction,” said the Get Him To The Greek actor. “I am aware that I put myself in an extremely vulnerable position by being very, very promiscuous. That is not the kind of conduct that I endorse, and it’s certainly not how I would live now.\

“I’ve been shown a good many things, as a result of these events – the value of my family, the value of friendship, the value of being able to speak publicly.

“I mentioned my son because throughout it I was able to maintain what is really important in life ... hurtful as it is to be accused of what I consider to be the most appalling crimes, to be accused of this is very, very painful, and very hurtful.”

He added: “But I am being shown that there are consequences for the rather foolish way that I lived in the past – although of course again to reiterate, due to the nature of the world we live, of course I deny any allegations of the kind that have been advanced.”

With reporting from agencies.