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BBC, C4, Banijay launch investigations into Russell Brand misconduct claims

UK broadcasters the BBC and Channel 4, plus production company Banijay UK, have launched separate internal investigations into allegations of serious misconduct against Russell Brand.

Russell Brand (photo: Eva Rinaldi)

The actor, comedian and activist has been accused of rape, sexual assault and emotional abuse, according to a joint investigation by The Sunday Times, The Times and Channel 4’s Dispatches strand, which aired the programme Russell Brand: In Plain Sight on Saturday.

Brand denies the allegations, which have been made by four women.

The actor and comedian rose to fame in the mid-2000s as the host of Big Brother’s Big Mouth on E4 before starring in numerous other TV programmes as well as Hollywood films such as Get Him to the Greek, Forgetting Sarah Marshall and Arthur. Since the pandemic, he has developed a following online discussing conspiracy theories.

In a statement, a BBC representative 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.”

Brand resigned from the BBC in 2008 following public outrage over offensive messages he left on actor Andrew Sachs’s answering machine during his Radio 2 programme.

Speaking about its own internal investigation, Channel 4 said in a statement: “Channel 4 is appalled to learn of these deeply troubling allegations including behaviour alleged to have taken place on programmes made for Channel 4 between 2004 and 2007.

“We are 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 have asked the production company who produced the programmes for Channel 4 to investigate these allegations and report their findings properly and satisfactorily to us.

“Channel 4 is also conducting its own internal investigation and we would encourage anyone who is aware of such behaviour to contact us directly.”

A statement from the UK arm of Banijay, which acquired Big Brother producer Endemol Shine Group in 2020, said: “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 UK has launched an urgent internal investigation and will co-operate 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.”

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