The British comedian turned wellness guru performed in London after denying all claims of rape, sexual assault and abuse based on allegations from four women presented by three UK news outlets
Russell Brand, the comedian-turned-influencer, has been accused of rape, sexual assault and abuse based on allegations from four women who knew him over a seven-year period at the height of his fame.
The claims were reported on Saturday by The Sunday Times and its sister newspaper The Times as well as Channel 4’s ‘Dispatches’ programme.
In the coverage, one woman alleged she had been raped, while three others accused Brand of sexual assault. One of the women also said he had been physically and emotionally abusive.
Brand has denied all of the allegations and said that all of his relationships have been consensual.
Before the stories were published, Brand posted a video online denying the claims, saying they had been outlined in two “extremely disturbing letters” from a “mainstream media” television company and a newspaper.
In the video, he didn’t identify the news organisations by name but said, “Amidst this litany of astonishing, rather baroque attacks are some very serious allegations that I absolutely refute,” he said.
“These allegations pertain to the time when I was working in the mainstream, when I was in the newspapers all the time, when I was in the movies and, as I have written about extensively in my books, I was very, very promiscuous”, he continued, adding, “Now during that time of promiscuity the relationships I had were absolutely, always consensual. I was always transparent about that then, almost too transparent, and I am being transparent about it now as well.”
Brand also suggested that the reports were part of a coordinated attack designed to discredit him because of his sometimes controversial views.
He has been widely criticised for expressing scepticism about COVID-19 vaccines and for choosing to interview contentious podcasters including the likes of Joe Rogan.
“To see that transparency metastasized into something criminal, that I absolutely deny, makes me question is there [sic] another agenda at play,” Brand said.
The women who have made the allegation explained that they only felt ready to tell their stories after being approached by reporters.
Some cited Brand’s newfound prominence as an online wellness influencer as a factor in their decision to speak.
Brand rose to fame as a stand-up comic in Britain in the early 2000s, which led to starring roles on Channel 4 and later BBC Radio, where he capitalised on a reputation for outrageous behaviour and risque banter.
He later made the jump to Hollywood, appearing in films such as ‘Forgetting Sarah Marshall’ in 2008 and the remake of ‘Arthur’ in 2011. Brand achieved more fame still during his marriage to US pop star Katy Perry which lasted from 2010 to 2012.
More recently, he has transformed himself into a political commentator and influencer.
He posts YouTube videos to his 6.6 million subscribers on subjects including personal freedom and the COVID-19 pandemic.
Shortly after the allegations were revealed, Russell Brand chose to go ahead with a gig as part of his latest tour.
Addressing a crowd of some 2,000 fans at a London venue on Saturday night, he told the crowd: “There are obviously some things that I absolutely cannot talk about and I appreciate that you will understand”.
At the beginning of the show, part of his Bipolarisation tour, he walked onto the stage to the song ‘You Don’t Own Me’, a 1960s feminist anthem performed by American singer-songwriter Lesley Gore.
According to audience reports, he was distracted throughout but nonetheless ended the performance with a standing ovation, apparently lasting a few minutes.