The Metropolitan Police has responded to allegations against Russell Brand, saying it encourages victims of sexual assault to contact the force.
Four women have accused Brand of sexual assaults between 2006 and 2013 while the comedian was at the height of his fame, in a joint investigation by The Sunday Times and Channel 4 Dispatches.
He denies all the allegations against him.
A Met Police spokesperson said: “We are aware of media reporting of a series of allegations of sexual assault. At this time, we have not received any reports in relation to this.
“If anyone believes they have been the victim of a sexual assault, no matter how long ago it happened, we would encourage them to contact police.
“We spoke with The Sunday Times on Saturday 16 September. We will be making further approaches to The Sunday Times and Channel 4 to ensure that any victims of crime who they have spoken with are aware of how they may report any criminal allegations to police.”
It comes as:
• Channel 4 and production company Banijay UK have both launched investigations
• BBC said it was “urgently looking into the issues raised”
• Elon Musk and Andrew Tate were among those appearing to offer Brand support
• Charity Trevi Women cuts ties with the comedian
• Foreign Secretary James Cleverly called for quicker responses to such claims
• A parliamentary committee said it would “closely monitor” the issue
• Amnesty International said the claims were “shocking” but it received no complaints
Th BBC said in a statement: “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.”
A Channel 4 spokesperson said: “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.”
Banijay UK owns Endermol, which produced The Channel 4 show Big Brother and its spin-offs, on which Brand worked at the time of some of the claims.
It said in a statement: “In light of the very serious allegations 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.”
The charity Trevi Women, which supports mothers recovering from drug addiction, announced on Saturday it was cutting ties with Brand.
Amnesty International described the allegations as “shocking” but said no complaints or concerns were raised when Brand took part in its Secret Policeman’s Ball fund-raising gigs in 2006 and in 2012.
But it urged women to come forward “if there is anything that they experienced at that time that is of concern”.
‘Certain things I can’t discuss’
Elon Musk, controversial influencer Andrew Tate and former Fox News host Tucker Carlson were among those to react to the claims on social media this weekend, with posts appearing to support the 48-year-old comic.
A video by Brand in which he denied the claims was also shared online by TV star turned radio host, Kirsty Gallacher, who is the older sister of Brand’s wife Laura. She later deleted the post.
Brand performed at a comedy show in London on Saturday evening after the allegations came out, telling fans he loved them but that there were “certain things” he “could not discuss”.
Brand has three more dates for his Bipolarisation live show tour, with his next a sell-out in Windsor, before appearances in Plymouth and Wolverhampton.
‘I feel like I’m being attacked’
Ahead of the publication of the claims, Brand, who has in recent years repositioned himself as a wellness guru and critic of the mainstream media, released a video entitled “So, This is Happening” in which he described the claims as “a litany of extremely egregious and aggressive attacks”.
Brand said in the clip: “As I’ve written about extensively in my books, I was very, very promiscuous.
“I don’t mind them using my books and my stand-up to talk about my promiscuous consensual conduct in the past. What I seriously refute are these very, very serious criminal allegations.”
He added: “Also, it’s worth mentioning that there are witnesses whose evidence directly contradicts the narrative that these two mainstream media outlets are trying to construct, apparently, in what seems to me to be a coordinated attack.”
Signing off the video, he said: “Now, I don’t wanna get into this any further because of the serious nature of the allegations, but I feel like I’m being attacked and plainly they’re working very closely together.
“We are obviously going to look into this matter ’cause it’s very, very serious.”
Cleverly calls for quick response to concerns
Meanwhile, the foreign sectetary spoke to Sky News about the dangers of “sharp differentials in power” following the allegations against Brand.
Mr Cleverly did not comment specifically on the allegations but told Sunday Morning with Trevor Phillips: “We see that [sharp differentials in power] in the film industry, the entertainment industry and sadly, of course, we sit in the area that I work in terms of politics, where you have very, very significant power differentials, long working hours, people in that environment.”
He added: “We need to make sure that we are going out of our way to protect the people that have less power than those around them. We need to respond to their concerns very, very quickly when they are highlighted.”
The Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee chair, Dame Caroline Dinenage, also promised that MPs will “closely monitoring” the response to the allegations against Brand.
Met Police chief calls for more legal protections as army on standby to replace firearms officers
The head of the Metropolitan Police has demanded increased legal protections for officers after a revolt by armed police left the army poised to fill in.
Soldiers are on standby for armed police after scores of Metropolitan Police officers stood down from firearms duties following a murder charge against one of their colleagues.
The force’s commissioner Sir Mark Rowley welcomed a review into the situation by Home Secretary Suella Braverman.
And in an open letter he told her to “let the police police”.
“It is essential that we have a system which commands the confidence of officers and the communities they serve,” he wrote.
“Of course, where wrongdoing takes place, the public expect us to be held to the highest standards.
“I have been clear on this in all areas of policing, and the use of force must be no exception.
“The system that judges officers’ actions should be rooted in integrity and decisions should be reached swiftly, competently and without fear or favour.
“A review is needed to address accountability mechanisms, including the policies and practices of the Independent Office for Police Conduct and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), ideally with a focus on the threshold for investigating police use of force and involvement in pursuits.”
He added: “The review announced today is therefore a very welcome development.
“I have spoken publicly in recent weeks about the need to let the police police.
“Our commitment to delivering change in the Met is unflinching and we are making positive progress, but that progress is undermined by a system not set up to help officers succeed.”
More than 100 officers have reportedly handed in permits allowing them to carry weapons, prompting Scotland Yard to turn to the military for assistance.
The crisis has emerged after an unnamed officer was charged with murder over the shooting of unarmed Chris Kaba, 24, who was killed in September last year in Streatham Hill, south London.
The officer accused of his murder is named only as NX121 after a district judge granted an anonymity order.
Ms Braverman said: “We depend on our brave firearms officers to protect us from the most dangerous and violent in society.
“In the interest of public safety, they have to make split-second decisions under extraordinary pressures.
“They mustn’t fear ending up in the dock for carrying out their duties. Officers risking their lives to keep us safe have my full backing and I will do everything in my power to support them.
“That’s why I have launched a review to ensure they have the confidence to do their jobs while protecting us all.”
‘Let the police police’: Met commissioner’s letter to home secretary in full
Metropolitan Police commissioner Sir Mark Rowley has written and open letter to Home Secretary Suella Braverman, urging her to “let the police police”.
Below is the letter in full:
Dear Home Secretary,
I welcome your announcement earlier today that you will be launching a review into how police officers are held to account when force is used.
You will know from our previous discussions that it is an area that I believe is long overdue for reform to address a number of imbalances.
In the UK we proudly police by consent, embracing the principles of accountability, transparency and independent scrutiny. It is essential that we have a system which commands the confidence of officers and the communities they serve.
Of course, where wrongdoing takes place the public expect us to be held to the highest standards. I have been clear on this in all areas of policing, and the use of force must be no exception.
The system that judges officers’ actions should be rooted in integrity and decisions should be reached swiftly, competently and without fear or favour.
A review is needed to address accountability mechanisms, including the policies and practices of the Independent Office for Police Conduct and the Crown Prosecution Service, ideally with a focus on the threshold for investigating police use of force and involvement in pursuits.
The review announced today is therefore a very welcome development.
I have spoken publicly in recent weeks about the need to let the police police. Our commitment to delivering change in the Met is unflinching and we are making positive progress, but that progress is undermined by a system not set up to help officers succeed. I have identified pursuits and use of force as areas where we see the most glaring unfairness.
I make no comment on any ongoing matters that are sub judice but the issues raised in this letter go back further.
Accountability matters, but we should not have allowed ourselves to develop a system where police officers get investigated for safely pursuing suspects, just because the suspect acts recklessly and as a result injures themselves or someone else.
This is unfair on our officers and discourages them from chasing down criminals.
Armed officers know they need to justify their actions, especially when lethal force is used. They are extremely well trained and an intrinsic part of their training reinforces that shots can only be fired if absolutely necessary to save life.
Officers are individually responsible and accountable for their actions. Consequently, we have one of the safest models of armed policing in the world.
Will armed officer’s murder charge force change in how police shootings are reported?
Britain’s streets without the specialist firearms officers and armed response vehicles that are dotted around major cities will be more dangerous places.
The army is being called in as back-up to the officers withdrawing their service but they do not have the experience to deal with the split-second decisions that are made every day by the police.
As then head of specialist operations, Sir Mark Rowley was the man responsible for the expansion in the number of firearms officers in London.
It was designed to deal with the threat that emerged from the marauding firearms attacks in Mumbai in 2008 and Paris in 2015.
Thankfully, that threat has never materialised, although the officers were called in to deal with the terrorist knife attacks in Woolwich in 2013, London Bridge in 2017 and Fishmongers’ Hall in 2019.
However, the same officers deal with 4,000 incidents involving firearms or suspected firearms every year.
They discharge their weapons on fewer than two of those but when they do the results can have a devastating effect on the officers themselves and on community relations.
There have been a small number of controversial shootings, most notably that of Azelle Rodney in 2005 and Mark Duggan in 2011, that led to the London riots that summer.
In the case of Azelle Rodney, following an inquiry finding that his killing was “not justified”, PC Anthony Long was eventually charged with murder, nine years after the shooting, and acquitted at trial.
In Mark Duggan’s case, an inquest jury found that he was lawfully killed, three years after the shooting, and no officer faced charges.
The process of charging officers with murder or manslaughter is a fraught one, but in the case of Chris Kaba, it has proceeded more quickly than usual, as the Independent Office for Police Conduct collected body-worn footage, CCTV, witness statements and forensics before passing their file to the Crown Prosecution Service.
The CPS decided to charge the officer NX121, with murder, for shooting Mr Kaba through the windscreen of the Audi he was driving in Kirkstall Gardens, Streatham.
The vehicle was being followed, having been identified as used in a firearms incident the previous day, but Mr Kaba was unarmed.
The investigation and charge process took a little over a year but it has given rise to fears among firearms officers across the country that they are being judged for doing their jobs.
The details of the case cannot be discussed because of laws in Britain that mean the case against the officer could be prejudiced by reporting.
That is one of the things Sir Mark, now the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, would like to change but he would also like the CPS to strengthen the legal protection for officers who use force.
Offering his support to his officers, Sir Mark wrote to the Home Secretary on Sunday, voicing their concern “that even if they stick to the tactics and training they have been given, they will face years of protracted legal proceedings”.
However, there is another dimension to the debate.
In the case of Mark Duggan, the issue that provoked the London riots, was the belief in Tottenham that a criminal of Duggan’s experience would not have pointed a firearm at an armed police officer – and that he had, in effect, been executed.
Policing in Britain is performed by consent, and the police in London, and elsewhere, continue to face a challenge in the narrative that arose in Tottenham.
They are trained to believe that criminals will attempt to shoot them, but the reality, some believe, is very different.
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