A new development has emerged in the ongoing controversy surrounding comedian and podcaster Russell Brand, who was recently accused publicly of sexually abusing four women. The allegations first became known when The Times and Sunday Times newspapers published reports on the matter. Now, Brand is facing an investigation launched by law enforcement in the United Kingdom.
The allegations include sexual assault and rape. One of the accusers claims Brand carried on a sexual relationship with her when she was only 16 years old. Each of the women making allegations has remained anonymous so far.
British police have opened a sex crimes investigation triggered by news reports about comedian Russell Brand.
London’s Metropolitan Police force said Monday that it had “received a number of allegations of sexual offences” after a television documentary and newspaper investigations. It said there have been no arrests.
Brand, 48, denies allegations of sexual assault made by four women in a Channel 4 television documentary and The Times and Sunday Times newspapers. The accusers, who have not been named, include one who said she was sexually assaulted during a relationship with him when she was 16. Another woman says Brand raped her in Los Angeles in 2012.
The police force did not name Brand in its statement, but referred to the recent articles and documentary. It said detectives were investigating allegations of “non-recent” sexual offenses, both in London and elsewhere.
“We have also received a number of allegations of sexual offences committed elsewhere in the country and will investigate these,” the law enforcement agency noted.
Brand has denied the allegations multiple times and insisted that they are motivated by an effort to silence his anti-establishment voice on digital platforms.
There has also been a concerted effort to suppress the reach of his podcast as a result of the allegations. YouTube recently demonetized his channel, which prompted the comedian to shift his platform primarily to Rumble, another video-sharing site. Nevertheless, there were also attempts to pressure Rumble to demonetize his content there as well. A member of Parliament sent a letter to the company asking if they would further attack Brand’s content. The company refused.
The accusations against Russell Brand have ignited yet another conversation about how the public, press, and digital platforms should respond when there are serious allegations against high-profile public figures. On one side of the debate, some argue that even the existence of allegations – no matter how credible – should mean that the individual should be immediately canceled from their platforms. Others point out that taking this type of rash action could result in someone being punished for actions they did not actually engage in.
Moreover, there is also the politics factor. It seems clear that, despite Brand’s guilt or innocence, this is an attempt to silence the comedian’s voice. Indeed, the same media outlets who are pushing the news about the allegations to the public are the same ones who reviled him for being a “far-right” influencer even though he does not identify as conservative. This issue is also worthy of debate, especially if these folks will all but completely ignore a similar story if it involves someone who toes the line. Either way, it seems that Brand will continue to speak out on Rumble. If it appears that there is enough credibility to the accusations, the market will respond accordingly.