The Russell Brand Situation Explained

The Russell Brand Situation Explained
VOICE OVER: Callum Janes
This celebrity is in some seriously hot water. Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we'll be looking at the developing story around Russell Brand and the allegations that have been made against him. For this video, we're breaking down the Russell Brand situation, including the people involved and what might come next for the English comedian.

The Russell Brand Situation Explained

Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’ll be looking at the developing story around Russell Brand and the allegations that have been made against him.

On the 15th of September 2023, following growing public speculation, British actor and comedian Russell Brand posted a video online to try and get ahead of this brewing scandal. In it, he claimed that he was the victim of a coordinated attack from the “mainstream media” and profusely denied the allegations without going into detail about what they were. At the time, Brand was also touring a new comedy show in the UK, “Bipolarisation”, and did end up performing on the 16th in London, mentioning briefly that there were, quote, “things that [he] absolutely cannot talk about” going on.

That very same day, a TV documentary and a newspaper exposé, in a joint investigation, were published. The documentary came from the show “Dispatches” on Channel 4, a highly regarded producer of investigative journalism in the UK, while the exposé was published in “The Times” and “The Sunday Times”, a very respected newspaper of record. They both detailed allegations by four women of serious sexual assault and misconduct.

The earliest allegations brought up by investigators dated back to 2006, a few years into his successful stand-up comedy career and television career. He worked for MTV and then, eventually, Channel 4 to present its “Big Brother” spin-off show, “Big Brother’s Big Mouth”. By 2006, Brand was working for BBC radio. The woman, dubbed “Alice”, claimed that when she was sixteen, she was in a relationship with Brand for a few months after they had met in London, and she recognised him. She said that the next time they met up, he made sure that she was telling the truth about being sixteen. It’s worth mentioning that in Britain, sixteen is the legal age of consent, as opposed to eighteen in the US, meaning that this relationship was not technically against the law.

However, Alice said that, years later, she was able to recognise the star’s behaviour as, quote, “grooming”. She said that though her parents knew some of what was going on, she was so determined to continue with Brand that they were powerless to stop her visiting him, and that he coached her on what to say to her parents so that she could lie about her whereabouts. And, most disturbingly, Alice also said that Brand referred to her outright as, quote, “the child”. The relationship ended when he assaulted her. Eight years later, she says she contacted Brand’s literary agent to tell them what kind of a person he was, but was quickly contacted by his lawyers who accused her of wanting money, though she never asked for any money and only wanted an acknowledgment and apology. But that literary agent, Tavistock Wood, has also now ended its relationship with Brand.

Another of Brand’s accusers is a woman dubbed “Rachel” by the investigators, who worked as a runner during Brand’s time on “Big Brother’s Big Mouth”. She said she was the one the producers repeatedly sent to break bad news to Brand, and that she once went into his dressing room where he exposed himself and asked her to perform sexual acts. She refused, though she alleges they eventually did start a relationship and he told her he had it written into his contract that he wasn’t allowed to have relationships with anybody else working on “Big Brother”. This is a claim made publicly a few times in years past, including Brand referencing it in his autobiography.

One of the women who spoke on the record to journalists was Helen Berger, who was Brand’s PA in the mid-2000s. Berger said that when she revealed to the higher-ups that she was gay, this was seen as a positive to land her the job, because it lowered the chances of anything untoward happening between her and Brand. Berger also talked about Brand’s habit of often wearing only his underwear and nothing else.

Another accuser of serious crimes was a woman nicknamed “Nadia”, who met Brand while he was living in Los Angeles in the early 2010s. She said they slept together consensually a few times, but then one night he violently assaulted her. Investigators were shown the text message exchanges between Brand and Nadia after the fact, and also said that they had verified with other people who knew Brand at the time that the number he was texting from WAS, in fact, his phone number.

And the final accuser interviewed by the journalists was Phoebe, who met Brand through an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting in LA in 2013. She said Brand chased and attacked her in his home while she screamed for help. Phoebe fled the house and has now told journalists that there were people outside who heard the screaming, but that the witnesses later told her they were so scared of Brand they didn’t intervene.

Many other stories and incidents were brought up by investigators that now appear far more disturbing in hindsight. In Britain, Brand is still notorious for the 2008 prank calls scandal, in which he and fellow comedian and TV presenter Jonathan Ross made an unpleasant prank call to Andrew Sachs on BBC Radio 2. Andrew Sachs is best-known for starring as Manuel in the acclaimed sitcom “Fawlty Towers”, and Brand boasted on Sachs’ voicemail about a time he slept with Sachs’ granddaughter. This may sound like something of a non-troversy to outside ears, but in Britain, politicians including the Prime Minister were expected to comment on it and condemn Brand – who lost his job. Even more disturbing, “Dispatches” showed old footage of Brand on another radio show calling up Jimmy Savile, the heinous sex offender whose crimes were revealed a year after his death. In the call, Brand offers his assistant to Savile, with Savile joking about how she ought to be naked and Brand saying his assistant was contractually obligated to do what he says.

In the years since Brand largely disappeared from mainstream media, following his high-profile divorce from Katy Perry, he remade himself as an online cultural and political commentator. This started in 2015, when Brand got involved in the UK’s general election that year and told his followers who to vote for, but this eventually evolved. Using his experiences with addiction he cultivated a “wellness” image, and is now married to a fellow “wellness” influencer. However, his commentary got more and more extreme during the pandemic, leading to many reports to YouTube that his channel was actively spreading misinformation and conspiracy theories. He now has tens of millions of followers behind his, quote, “movement”, and posts on a variety of platforms, including Rumble.

As a result of this online presence, he has many vocal fans who have come to his defense following the allegations, pointing out that the personality and behavior he was once celebrated for are now called out as problematic. These fans urged detractors to remember the old adage “innocent until proven guilty,” and also pointed to what they called the suspicious timing of the accusations, at a time when Brand had become an outspoken critic of Big Pharma, the industrial military complex and the concentrated ownership of media in the hands of a few groups.

British broadcasters who employed Brand over the years, including the BBC and Channel 4, have so far said that they have no record of anybody raising complaints against Brand at the time, though many allege that complaints WERE made. They are, however, opening investigations to try and determine exactly what happened, as is the London Metropolitan Police. YouTube has also blocked Brand’s channel from monetization. And, finally, investigators say they have now been contacted by many more women who also want to come forward. The initial investigation was a year in the making, and journalists are fact-checking the latest claims before anything more is published.

Let us know what you think of Russell Brand and these shocking allegations against him.