Allegations against comedian and actor Russell Brand are being investigated by the BBC and Banijay U.K., while the Metropolitan police has encouraged victims to come forward.
On Saturday, the Sunday Times of London, The Times and U.K. broadcaster Channel 4’s documentary team “Dispatches” published the results of a year-long investigation where Brand was accused of “rape, sexual assaults and emotional abuse.”
Brand pre-emptively denied the allegations in a YouTube video titled “So, This Is Happening,” where he said he “absolutely refutes” the “litany of astonishing, rather baroque, attacks.”
On Sunday, a BBC spokesperson said: “The documentary and associated reports contained serious allegations, spanning a number of years. Russell Brand worked on BBC radio programmes between 2006 and 2008 and we are urgently looking into the issues raised.”
One of the allegations is from a then 16-year-old during the time Brand presented a show on BBC Radio 6.
Other allegations are said to have happened in the 2004-05 period on “Big Brother” spinoffs “Eforum” and “Big Mouth” produced by Endemol, now owned by Banijay.
Banijay U.K said in a statement: “In light of the very serious allegations raised by ‘Dispatches’ and The Times/Sunday Times investigation relating to the alleged serious misconduct of Russell Brand while presenting shows produced by Endemol in 2004 and 2005, Banijay U.K. has launched an urgent internal investigation and will cooperate with any requests for information from broadcast partners and external agencies. We also encourage anybody who feels that they were affected by Brand’s behaviour while working on these productions to contact us in confidence.”
“Banijay U.K. has robust welfare procedures and policies in place which are aimed at preventing such occurrences and protecting cast, crew and staff. Escalation protocols are also in place across all our productions to encourage anyone experiencing or witnessing inappropriate behaviour on set or in the workplace to speak up. A global code of conduct, anonymous whistle blowing line and dedicated senior HR contacts are promoted for all production teams, including on call sheets. We take our duty of care to our cast, crew and staff extremely seriously.
While the legacy company, Endemol, did have a code of conduct, support policies and escalation procedures in place during the period in question (2004/2005) they were not as robust as our current processes. We are sorry these women did not feel supported and protected while working on these productions and in light of these serious allegations encourage to them to contact us in confidence,” the statement added.
The U.K. Metropolitan police said that it had not received any complaints yet but was in touch with The Sunday Times on the matter. “If anyone believes they have been the victim of a sexual assault, no matter how long ago it happened, we would encourage them to contact the police,” a Metropolitan police spokesperson said.
Meanwhile, Amnesty International, for whom Brand participated in the “Secret Policeman’s Ball” events in 2006 and 2012, said that it was “very aware of the barriers women face in raising complaints of sexual assault, and would encourage any women to let us know if there is anything that they experienced at that time that is of concern.”