Comedian Nish Kumar says presence of sexual predators in industry is ‘open secret’ following Russell Brand allegations
Nish Kumar says young women have been advised to steer clear of dressing rooms used by ‘predators’ still working on the comedy scene.
The comedian also said the knowledge of Russell Brand‘s alleged abuse against young women was “a well-known open secret on the comedy circuit” and he thinks it’s likely “there’s more allegations to come”.
Brand has been accused of rape, sexual assault and abuse and sexual misconduct by a number of women – claims he vehemently denies.
Speaking on his Pod Save The UK podcast, Kumar said: “This stuff is still happening, there are still people working in comedy who are the subject of open secrets.
“There are still people who work in comedy that we can’t name because again, of the threat of lawsuits. And there are still people working in comedy who people will say, ‘Oh, we don’t send young women into their dressing room’.”
The 38-year-old added: “Now at that stage for me, you should be sacked from that job. If you can’t have someone be around young women, they have no place in any kind of workplace.
“The tolerance of it is something that we are going to have to actually have a reckoning with.”
Kumar, who previously hosted The Mash Report and Late Night Mash – said he first heard about Brand’s alleged wrongdoings in mid-2017, and that “from that point onwards it was well known”.
He said it went on to be discussed by multiple comedians at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2018.
However, he said the “very specific and serious allegation” against Brand that he had first been made aware of was not one that was discussed in the Channel 4 Dispatches programme which aired at the weekend.
For that reason, Kumar said he thinks “it is possible that there’s more allegations to come”.
Pointing to Brand’s diminishing TV work in the UK after 2019, Kumar said: “That’s simply because increasingly people were just not willing to work with him. Everyone was afraid to talk about it because of the threat of lawsuits, you know?
“And so, the only power people had was to withdraw participation from shows involving Russell Brand.”
Abuse of power is an industry wide problem
He said as a comedian working in the industry, he too felt a sense of “guilt” and “complicity”.
Kumar said: “Watching it as a cisgendered, heterosexual male comedian, you feel a certain sense of guilt and a certain sense of complicity because you’ve been working with production companies and producers who are providing an infrastructure that allows predators to thrive.”
He said the “indulgence” of top talent was “an issue that cuts across all of the industries,” and which needed to be addressed.
Kumar concluded: “The only people to come out of this with anything approaching any credibility are the victims who have been brave enough to step forward and the journalists who have worked extremely hard to produce rigorous pieces of journalism so that they could get around the threats of a very powerful man’s lawyers.”
Brand, 48, was initially accused of rape, sexual assault and abuse by four women with the alleged offences taking place between 2006 and 2013.
The comedian and presenter denies the claims, and says all his relationships have been consensual.
Following the report by the Sunday Times, The Times and Channel 4’s Dispatches, two further women have come forward with allegations against Brand.
The Metropolitan Police says it has received an allegation of sexual assault against him dating back to 2003.
The BBC also says it is looking into allegations by a woman who claims Brand exposed himself to her and then laughed about it afterwards on his Radio 2 show.
In the wake of the claims, numerous companies have cut ties with Brand including his management company, a women’s charity and several of his YouTube sponsors.
Sky News has approached Russell Brand for comment.
Tyler Goodson: Man who featured on S-Town podcast shot dead by police in Alabama stand-off
A man who featured in the hit podcast ‘S-Town’ has been shot and killed by police during a stand-off in Alabama, authorities say.
Tyler Goodson, 32, of Woodstock, was shot and killed by officers after he barricaded himself inside a home and “brandished a gun” at officers on Sunday morning, the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency said.
Police said they were responding to a call when they arrived at the home. They did not explain what led to the call.
Mr Goodson posted a Facebook update at around the time of the incident, according to local media, saying “Police bout [sic] shoot me in my own yard.”
The 2017 podcast S-Town told the story of an Alabama man named John B McLemore, who took his own life before the show came out.
S-Town focuses on the eccentric Mr McLemore, a restorer of antique clocks, but ultimately investigates two killings in the town.
Mr Goodson explored his relationship with Mr McLemore in the podcast, saying in episode three: “Because you know, I ain’t ever had no daddy worth a damn. He’s just about the only daddy I’ve got.”
He was well known in Woodstock’s community, which is made up of around 1,500 people.
“I know that everyone wants answers and details, myself included,” Woodstock mayor Jeff Dodson said in a statement following the shooting.
“Tyler was well known and loved by myself, his family and this community. That love extends far beyond due to the S-Town podcast.
“Please remember at this time that he is so much more than a character to the fans who loved him. This young man was a father, son, brother and friend to many.”
Police say they are reviewing the shooting.
Mr Goodson was given a suspended sentence in 2017 after pleading guilty to burglary and theft charges accusing him of taking items from Mr McLemore’s property after his death.
Before pleading guilty, Mr Goodson had maintained he was retrieving items that belonged to him.
He told the AP news agency in 2017 that the podcast had brought plenty of attention to both the town and himself, but said neither have done him any favours.
“It’s a sad story, especially if you’re part of it,” he said.
Grand Theft Auto VI: First trailer released early by Rockstar Games after leak
The first trailer has been released for the massively anticipated Grand Theft Auto VI.
It was put out a day earlier than expected after a leaked version went viral on social media on Monday.
Rockstar Games posted on X: “Our trailer has leaked so please watch the real thing on YouTube.”
The clip racked up 37 million views in just six hours such is the clamour for the game.
The top comment, liked 343,000 times, says: “We’ve waited 10 years for this moment and it’s finally here.”
GTAV is the best-selling title of all time behind Minecraft – with some 185 million units sold – but it’s been a decade since it came out.
The trailer for the sequel shows a clone of Miami, the setting for the 2002 game, and features classic elements: fast cars, gangs, shoot-outs – and even an alligator in a convenience store.
It’s also the debut of GTA’s first female protagonist, Lucia, alongside an unnamed male partner, with the couple apparently on the run as chaos engulfs the city.
The teaser will whet the appetite of gamers but they’ll have to wait at least another year – the credits confirming “coming 2025”.
Last year, 90 minutes of early gameplay leaked online after a hacker gained access to Rockstar’s Slack channel.
In one of the industry’s most high-profile breaches, dozens of videos showing various robberies, shoot-outs, and open-world driving were posted online.
Rockstar said it was “extremely disappointed” but insisted it wouldn’t affect the game’s development.
Jason Schreier, Bloomberg’s gaming journalist, previously told Sky News that GTAV’s popular multiplayer mode was one reason why there hadn’t been “quite the same urgency” to get the sequel out.
Earlier versions were released with much shorter gaps in between: GTA III in 2001, Vice City in 2002, San Andreas in 2004, and GTA IV in 2008.
Sky wins broadcast rights to show record number of Premier League matches – increasing coverage by 70%
Sky has won broadcast rights to show a record number of Premier League matches in a new four-year deal starting from 2025/26.
Sky Sports has retained the rights to four out of five packages – with the other being retained by TNT Sports – and means that exclusive live coverage will increase by 70%.
Sky Sports will retain its flagship Super Sunday programme, and for the first time, all final games in the season will be live in one place.
The new four-year deal will cover at least 215 Premier League matches each season from 2025/26 to 2028/29.
And in another first, Sky Sports will now be able to offer multiple live matches on a number of weekends at 2pm on Sundays.
The agreements will deliver a total of £6.7bn in revenue across the four-year period.
Dana Strong, group chief executive of Sky, said: “This is a fantastic result for Sky customers, who will see a significant increase in the number of matches from the most iconic league in the world.
“We are proud of our long history with the Premier League and look forward to delivering more engagement, entertainment and innovation to the end of the decade.
“Sky is the undisputed home for sport fans in the UK. Our customers have more of the sports they love and more long-term certainty than ever before, with an unrivalled volume of domestic football, alongside Formula 1, cricket, golf, rugby league, tennis and much more.”
Richard Masters, Premier League chief executive, said: “We are delighted to announce new deals with Sky Sports and TNT Sports that will extend our partnership for a further four years and see more Premier League matches than ever before shown live from 2025/26 onwards.
“As long-standing and valued partners, Sky Sports and TNT Sports are renowned for consistently delivering world-class coverage and programming.
“We are also extremely pleased to extend our partnership with BBC Sport, which will continue to bring weekly highlights of all Premier League matches to the widest possible audience in the UK.
“The outcome of this process underlines the strength of the Premier League and is testament to our clubs, players and managers who continue to deliver the world’s most competitive football in full stadiums, and to supporters, who create an unrivalled atmosphere every week.”
TNT Sports secured Package A, which includes 52 matches with the primary kick-off time being 12.30pm.
Within that, they get 18-second picks of matches, 14 fourth picks and all 20 of the fourth and fifth mid-week rounds in the season.
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