Television executives allegedly considered removing all female staff from shows helmed by Russell Brand instead of the British comic himself, over fears they would be “assaulted or harassed.”
The shocking allegation comes as four women have accused the Brand, 48, of raping and sexually abusing them during the height of his fame between 2006 and 2013, according to a joint investigation published Saturday by the Times of London and Channel 4 Dispatches.
One woman who was identified in the bombshell report as “Alice,” claimed that Brand groomed and sexually abused her when she was 16.
Alice, who later went on to work at Channel 4, recalled a work meeting where Brand was pitched to host a television show, but concerns about his behavior were raised.
During the meeting, either in late 2013 or early 2014, television execs suggested taking female staff off the show instead of the problematic comic, the woman reportedly recalled.
“The solution that was offered was that we would take the female staff off the crew — women that have worked hard to get into this industry — now can’t work on particular shows because of fear that they might be assaulted or harassed. I was in disbelief,” she said, according to the report.
When Alice met Brand in 2006, he was becoming a household name as the host of Channel 4’s “Big Brother’s Big Mouth” and as a BBC radio presenter.
The then-31-year-old called the teen “the child” and assaulted her during their “emotionally abusive and controlling” three-month relationship, she said. The age of consent is 16 in the UK.
While Brand’s alleged sinister conduct was an “open secret” in the entertainment industry, he continued to be afforded opportunities by UK broadcasters, including Channel 4. In 2019, he appeared on a celebrity edition of “Bake Off” on the channel and baked biscuits inspired by the genitals of his wife, Laura Gallacher.
Days after the exposé was published, Brand took the stage at London’s Troubabour Wembley Park Theatre on Saturday, the latest stop on his stand-up comedy tour.
“I’ve got a lot of things to talk to you about. There are obviously some things that I absolutely cannot talk about and I appreciate that you will understand,” he told the sold out crowd, according to The Independent.
His performance came as police in England urged other potential victims of sex assault to come forward, and agent Tavistock Wood fired him, the outlet reported.
Wood learned of Alice’s allegations three years ago, but continued to represent Brand until the bombshell report was released. The agent claimed he was “horribly misled” by the comic, Deadline reported.
Brand denied the disturbing allegations in an online video released Saturday before the report was even published.
“Amidst this litany of astonishing, rather baroque attacks, are some very serious allegations that I absolutely refute,” he said, adding the claims stem from a time when he was “very, very promiscuous,” which he said he wrote “about extensively in my books.”
“Now during that time of promiscuity, the relationships I had were absolutely, always consensual.”
In response to the report, a spokesman for Channel 4 said they were “determined to understand the full nature of what went on.”
“We have carried out extensive document searches and have found no evidence to suggest the alleged incidents were brought to the attention of Channel 4.
“We will continue to review this in light of any further information we receive, including the accounts of those affected individuals. We will be asking the production company who produced the programmes [sic] for Channel 4 to investigate these allegations and report their findings properly and satisfactorily to us,” the spokesman continued.