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Russell Brand publisher pauses work with comedian after rape and sexual assault allegations

Russell Brand’s publisher has paused its work with the comedian and TV presenter after allegations of rape and sexual assault were made against him.

Brand, 48, has vehemently denied the allegations against him and says all of his relationships have been consensual. He is accused of sexually assaulting four women between 2006 and 2013. Others have accused Brand of predatory and abusive behaviour.

Publisher Bluebird has now announced that it has paused all future publishing with Brand. The comedian was also dropped by his agent, Tavistock Wood, following an investigation by The Times and Sunday Times, and Channel 4’s Dispatches.

Bluebird, a Pan Macmillan imprint, has been releasing titles by the comedian since 2017. These have included his self-help book Recovery: Freedom From Our Addictions and new release Recovery: The Workbook, which was due to be published in December.

“These are very serious allegations and in the light of them, Bluebird has taken the decision to pause all future publishing with Russell Brand,” a spokesperson said in a statement to The Independent.

Brand has published a number of other books, including his memoir My Booky Wook with Hodder & Stoughton in 2007, and a follow-up, My Booky Wook 2: This Time It’s Personal, released by HarperCollins in 2010.

In a statement issued over the weekend, Brand’s former agent Tavistock Wood confirmed that they had been contacted about his alleged behaviour in 2020, which he had denied.

“Russell Brand categorically and vehemently denied the allegation made in 2020, but we now believe we were horribly misled by him,” they said.

“TW has terminated all professional ties to Brand.”

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Following the allegations, the BBC and Channel 4 announced that they were launching their own respective inquiries into Brand’s employment.

Senior MPs told The Independent that the broadcasters must provide details of exactly what executives knew of any alleged misconduct by Brand, after he was accused of pursuing audience members for sex and undressing in the studio.

The Independent understands that MPs on the culture, media and sport select committee will discuss whether to haul TV and radio bosses up before the Commons in the days ahead when they meet on Tuesday (19 September).

A statement from Banijay UK, which bought Big Brother producer Endemol in 2020, said it was launching an “urgent internal investigation” and encouraged anybody “who feels that they were affected by Brand’s behaviour while working on these productions to contact us in confidence”.

On Sunday, a BBC spokesperson said the investigation had “contained serious allegations, spanning a number of years”, adding: “Russell Brand worked on BBC radio programmes between 2006 and 2008 and we are urgently looking into the issues raised.”

Russell Brand (Jonathan Brady/PA) (PA Wire)
Russell Brand (Jonathan Brady/PA) (PA Wire)

Meanwhile, Channel 4 has removed a number of TV episodes starring Brand from its catch-up platform. These include a 2019 episode of The Great Celebrity Bake Off, and the box set of Big Brother’s Big Mouth, the reality TV spin-off show fronted by Brand.

A Channel 4 spokesperson confirmed: “We’ve taken down all content featuring Russell Brand while we look into the matter. This includes episodes of The Great British Bake Off and the Big Brother box sets that he appeared on.”

Scotland Yard said it had spoken to The Sunday Times and Channel 4 about their investigation and will be making “further approaches” to make sure any potential victims of crime are aware of how they can report criminal allegations.

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)