More women have come forward to complain about their treatment by the ex-comic Russell Brand after publication at the weekend of the results of an investigation into years of alleged sexual misconduct and at least one instance of alleged rape.
Brand denies all the claims but the Times reports this morning that the new ones will be thoroughly checked.
Internal investigations are underway at Channel 4 and the BBC. So far, no formal complaints have been made to police but the Met says it has begun inquiries and advises women who feel they have been mistreated by Brand to speak to officers.
The initial investigation by the Times, the Sunday Times and Channel 4’s Dispatches is based on the stories of four women, one of whom says she was raped by Brand in Los Angeles in 2012.
Another says she was groomed for sex and sexually assaulted by him when she was 16 and he was 31.
The others describe being assaulted by him in London and LA respectively.
Brand used his promiscuity, which he described as an addiction, as material for his stand-up shows throughout the period of the allegations, from 2006 to 2013.
He also wrote about it in often graphic detail in two autobiographies.
Whether or not the women’s allegations lead to a criminal prosecution, they raise urgent questions about production companies’ duty of care towards staff; about why his agents and management took so little action to control his behaviour if it was, as now claimed, an “open secret” in the industry; and why it’s taken so long for his victims to come forward.
The answer to the last of these seems to be a mixture of fear and fury – fear of being frozen out of a highly competitive business that goes to extreme lengths to coddle and protect bankable talent; and fury that Brand, now 48, is finding new success peddling conspiracies and “wellness” content to an expanding and unmediated online audience.
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