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Russell Brand says past week has been ‘extraordinary and distressing’ since allegations of sexual assault and rape

Russell Brand says past week has been ‘extraordinary and distressing’ since allegations of sexual assault and rape

Russell Brand has thanked supporters for “questioning the information you are being presented with” and described the week since allegations of sexual assault were made against him as “extraordinary and distressing”.

The 48-year-old has strongly denied allegations of rape and sexual assault made by four women in an investigation by The Sunday Times, The Times and Channel 4’s Dispatches.

Speaking in a video posted on Rumble and X on Friday night, he said it had been an “extraordinary and distressing week”, adding: “I thank you very much for your support and for questioning the information that you’ve been presented with.”

The initial allegations were followed by a Metropolitan Police announcement that it had received a report of an alleged sexual assault in Soho in 2003 and were in contact with the woman who reported it.

Since the first allegations, which also include claims of controlling, abusive and predatory behaviour, the BBC and Channel 4 have announced investigations into the presenter’s time at their channels.

Brand also faces claims he flashed a woman before laughing about it on his BBC radio show - an allegation being investigated by the BBC’s internal review.

Channel 4 also said it has removed all of the content featuring Brand while the BBC said it has reviewed content and “made a considered decision to remove some of it, having assessed that it now falls below public expectations”.

Russell Brand has denied the allegations (James Manning/PA) (PA Wire)
Russell Brand has denied the allegations (James Manning/PA) (PA Wire)

Both YouTube, which hosts his video channel, and podcasting platform Acast, where his Under The Skin podcast appears, have said he would not make money from advertisements on their sites and apps.

Speaking online, Brand claimed moves to demonetise his content on social media in the wake of the allegations occurred “in the context of the Online Safety Bill”.

In a video posted to X he said: “By now you’re probably aware that the British Government have asked big tech platforms to censor our online content and that some online platforms have complied with that request.

“What you may not know is that this happens in the context of the Online Safety Bill, which is a piece of UK legislation that grants sweeping surveillance and censorship powers, and it’s a law that has already been passed.

“I also don’t imagine you’ve heard of the Trusted News Initiative. Now, as is often the case when a word like trusted is used as part of an acronym to describe an unelected body, trust is the last thing you should be offering.

“The Trusted News Initiative is a collaboration between big tech and legacy media organisations to target, control, choke and shut down independent media organisations like this one.”

Brand said he would return to his show on Rumble – an online video platform which refused to follow YouTube in blocking the comedian from advertising revenue on its site.

Russell Brand (PA)
Russell Brand (PA)

Brand described the streaming site as having made a “clear commitment to free speech”.

He said: “It’s clear that these organisations (mainstream media outlets) collaborate in constructing narratives, whether it’s about the war or the pandemic, and of course there are other examples.

“It is very clear to me that we have to be very, very cautious indeed.

“That’s why I’m asking you to follow me on Rumble.”

Brand, who said he needed the support of his followers “now, more than ever”, said he would continue to speak about “media corruption and censorship”.

He said: “So follow me, support our channel if you can, if it’s within your means, but more important than any of that is that you please, if you can, stay free.”

The video was posted just moments before Newsnight aired on BBC Two with fresh accusations about the former Hollywood actor’s behaviour.

Cole Parker, who worked with Brand between 2000 and 2002, claimed models were often warned by their agents about the comedian.

He has not responded to the latest claims made in the interview in which Parker told Newsnight he was “surprised” details were not made public sooner.

He said: “A lot of the modelling agents would sit down and tell their models, tell their stable, warn them about him.

“Things like people go back to his house and they fool around and then if they didn’t want to go all the way, he had a reputation for sometimes getting angry or a bit nasty if people wouldn’t sleep with him the first time.

“And given the fact that he was a celebrity, very good-looking man, very funny, he didn’t really need to sort of operate that way.

“There would have been plenty of people who would have been happy to get themselves involved in a dalliance with him, he didn’t have to go with people who were reluctant to do so.”

Asked if he was surprised by the allegations, he added: “I’m surprised it didn’t come out sooner, I’m surprised at the moment that it’s only four of them.”