A years-long investigation by a trio of U.K. news organizations makes a multitude of serious claims against Russell Brand, a longtime comedian and TV presenter who gained U.S. attention with star turns in films like Forgetting Sarah Marshall and Get Him To The Greek. But as his star rose, an alleged pattern of sexual assault and coercion emerged, per a report published today in The Times. Four women, including one who was 16 at the time of the alleged events, say Brand sexually assaulted them in interactions that occurred between 2006 and 2013, while numerous others make claims of harassment, predatory behavior, and abuse.
Since his period of Hollywood stardom about a decade ago, Brand has reinvented himself as a political pundit and author and again as a vaccine-skeptic social media star with a conservative fan base. He took to X (formerly Twitter) Friday with a video seemingly intended as a response to the investigation from The Times, The Sunday Times, and Channel 4 newsmagazine series Dispatches.
In the video he claimed that two “mainstream media” publications with a “serious and concerted agenda” were planning to release an investigation about his consensual relationships, but that the story had “metastasized into something criminal.” He also accused the mainstream media of a co-ordinated attack and said that there are witnesses whose evidence directly contradicts the narratives. Vanity Fair reached out to Brand’s representatives for comment following his post to X, but has not received a response as of publication time.
“The relationships that I had were absolutely always consensual,” Brand says in the video. “I was always transparent about that then, almost too transparent. And I’m being transparent about it now .. 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.”
According to The Times, the news outlets “gave Brand eight days within which to reply to detailed allegations, including information to enable him to recall the alleged incidents,” but the video response is—thus far—the only comment provided by Brand regarding the allegations.
The denial appeared to gain the support of X owner Elon Musk, who replied “Of course. They don’t like competition.” That response was made prior to the publication of the actual report, which was released on Saturday at 4:00 p.m. BST, or 11 a.m. on the East Coast of the U.S.
Reporting for the lengthy article began in 2019 and involved interviews with “hundreds of people.” Ages of those making allegations of assault and abuse against Brand range from a woman who says she had an initially consensual relationship with Brand at age 16 (which is England’s age of consent, according to Rape Crisis England and Wales) to middle-aged employees and colleagues, all of whom share details of alleged workplace misconduct (frequently sexual in nature) and coercive acts.
The story, which currently available on the website of The Times, will also be the subject of the broadcast news report Russell Brand: In Plain Sight: Dispatches, which will air Saturday on U.K.’s Channel Four at 9 p.m. BST.