Police in London said on Monday they had launched an investigation into a number of allegations of non-recent sexual offences following media reports that four women had accused actor and comedian Russell Brand of a string of sexual assaults.
Earlier this month, the Sunday Times newspaper and Channel 4’s documentary show Dispatches reported the women had accused Brand (48) of sexual offences, including a rape, between 2006 and 2013.
Brand has rejected the “very serious criminal allegations”, saying on his social media channels that he never had non-consensual sex.
The Metropolitan Police confirmed they had received a number of allegations of sexual offences in London following the media investigation.
“We have also received a number of allegations of sexual offences committed elsewhere in the country and will investigate these,” the statement said.
Police declined to give details of the dates, the number of incidents or the details of the offences under investigation.
Last week, in wake of the reports, however, the police did say they had received an allegation of a sexual assault reported to have taken place in Soho, central London, in 2003.
“We continue to encourage anyone who believes they may have been a victim of a sexual offence, no matter how long ago it was, to contact us,” said detective superintendent Andy Furphy, who is leading the investigation.
Since the allegations were first published and broadcast, British media have detailed other accounts by women alleging inappropriate behaviour by Brand.
It also led to his promoters announcing the remaining dates of a stand-up tour he was on had been postponed, while video sharing platform YouTube said last Tuesday it had blocked him from making money from his online channel.
Brand accused “big tech”, the government and mainstream media of trying to shut down independent voices when he started a broadcast on Monday on the Canadian-based site Rumble, where he has 1.6 million followers.
“I, now, in particular, have a new experience on the way that the media and the state can cooperate and corroborate one another’s narratives and stories,” he said, although he made no direct reference to the assault allegations.
“I am beginning to sense that if you publicly question important stories that are agenda-led like, for example, the war in Ukraine or the response to the Covid pandemic, then it appears there is some significant heft behind controlling those narrative spaces.”
Rumble has rejected calls from British lawmakers, among others, to stop Brand from making money from the site. – Reuters