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Russell Brand accused of rape, sexual assaults, and emotional abuse

Actor and comedian Russell Brand has been accused of rape, sexual assaults, and emotional abuse by four women in a joint investigation by The U.K. Times, The Sunday Times, and U.K. network Channel 4’s television series Dispatches.

The reported assaults were alleged to have occurred between the years of 2006 and 2013, during which Brand headlined several popular films including 2008’s Forgetting Sarah Marshall and 2010’s Get Him to the Greek. He was also married to singer Katy Perry from 2010 until 2012. The Times’ report coincides with Dispatches‘ 90-minute documentary detailing the allegations, which will air Saturday evening on Channel 4.

In addition to the women’s accusations, several other people alleged to the Times that Brand expressed “controlling, abusive, and predatory behavior” during the seven-year period.

Brand preemptively denied the allegations in the Times‘ article by releasing a YouTube video titled “So, This Is Happening” on Friday.

“I’ve received two extremely disturbing letters — or a letter and an email — one from a mainstream media TV company, one from a newspaper, listing a litany of extremely egregious and aggressive attacks as well as some pretty stupid stuff like my Community Festival should be stopped, that I shouldn’t be able to attack mainstream media narratives on this channel,” he said. “But amidst this litany of astonishing, rather baroque, attacks are some very serious allegations that I absolutely refute.”

A representative for Brand did not immediately respond to EW’s request for comment.

Russell Brand Denies ‘Criminal’ Allegations Connected to His ‘Promiscuous’ Past in New Video

Russell Brand

| Credit: Russell Brand/YouTube

One of the women, who was given the pseudonym Nadia, claimed that Brand raped her against a wall in his Los Angeles home in 2012. After fleeing the building under the pretense of using the bathroom, Nadia reportedly sought medical aid later that day at the Rape Treatment Center (RTC) at UCLA Santa Monica Medical Center. 

She also allegedly received several text messages from Brand, including one in which he wrote, “I’m sorry. That was crazy and selfish. I hope you can forgive me. I know that you’re a lovely person. X.”

When she replied that Brand had “scared the s— out” of her and that “when a girl say[s] NO it means no,” he responded, “I will make this up to you somehow with live [sic] and kindness. Not my original idea, which was more sex. You’ve been lovely to me and I’m embarrassed by my behavior. Sorry. X.”

Nadia provided her full treatment records for the investigation, which featured notes from the center that stated she did not want to press charges against Brand because she did not think her words “would mean anything up against his.” It also noted that she was “worried that, if her assailant’s name is somehow released, then her name will be dragged through the dirt.” After undergoing five months of therapy, she ultimately did not press charges but later wrote a letter to Brand attempting to “regain some of her power in the process.”

A second woman, who was 16 at the time of their alleged three-month “emotionally and sexually abusive” relationship, claimed that Brand engaged in grooming behavior and once “forced his penis down her throat” during a sexual encounter, making her choke and requiring her to punch him in the stomach in order to make him stop. (The U.K. age of consent is 16 years old.) The woman also claimed that Brand removed a condom during intercourse without her knowledge in a separate incident.

“Russell engaged in the behaviors of a groomer, looking back, but I didn’t even know what that was then, or what that looked like,” she said, noting that Brand would frequently refer to her as “the Child” and asked her to read passages from Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita. She also recalled an incident in which he allegedly kissed her mother on the mouth.

A third woman claimed that Brand sexually assaulted her in 2013 while they were working on a project together in Los Angeles. In the aftermath of the alleged assault, she said Brand allegedly threatened legal action against her if she told anyone and that she didn’t report the incident out of fear that her career would be impacted. 

A fourth woman, who was 24 at the time and worked as one of Channel 4’s runners, claimed that she once walked into Brand’s dressing room and he “flashed his penis at her” and “insinuated that she could give him oral sex.” After the pair struck up a relationship and had intercourse, Brand allegedly told her to keep it a “secret” because he “had it written into his contract that he wasn’t allowed to have any sexual contact with anyone working on Big Brother.

Brand’s personal assistant, Helen Berger, who worked for him in 2006, recalled that he would often show his friends intimate photographs of other women, including one woman she recognized. 

The report also revealed that female comedians were warned to stay away from Brand whenever they were on the same bill. One claimed that Brand would often chase her backstage and “bite my face,” despite her telling him not to do so.

Daniel Sloss is the only comedian who was willing to go on the record about Brand’s behavior, saying, “I know for many, many years that women have been warning each other about Russell.”

On Friday, Brand addressed the impending investigation and Channel 4’s documentary in a two-minute YouTube clip, saying he “absolutely” refutes them and that all his relationships were “consensual.”

“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’ve written about extensively in my books, I was very, very promiscuous,” he said. “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’m being transparent about it now as well.”

Brand’s lawyers told the reporters behind the investigation that they were “not in a position” to respond to the extensive allegations because they had asked a “large litany of questions” and had anonymized the women’s names, The Sunday Times reported. They did not comment any further.

Brand has courted controversy throughout his career, including after a 2008 incident in which he was suspended — and later resigned — from his BBC Radio 2 show after he left voicemails for actor Andrew Sachs saying he’d had sex with his granddaughter. In recent years, Brand has stepped away from the spotlight and launched his own YouTube channel, acting as a wellness guru. He has also been accused of peddling various conspiracy theories and spreading misinformation surrounding COVID-19.

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