LONDON (AP) — Three British news organizations reported Saturday that comedian and social influencer Russell Brand has been accused of rape, sexual assault and abuse based on allegations from four women who knew him over a seven-year period at the height of his fame.
Brand denied the allegations and said that all of his relationships have been consensual.
The Sunday Times, The Times of London and Channel 4’s “Dispatches” said that one woman alleged she had been raped, while three others accused him of sexual assault. One of the women also said he had been physically and emotionally abusive.
The women said that they only felt ready to tell their stories after being approached by reporters, with some citing Brand’s newfound prominence as an online wellness influencer as a factor in their decision to speak.
Before the stories were published, Brand posted a video online denying the allegations, which had been outlined in two “extremely disturbing letters” from a “mainstream media” television company and a newspaper. He didn’t identify the news organizations by name.
“Amidst this litany of astonishing, rather baroque attacks are some very serious allegations that I absolutely refute,” he said. “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 have written about extensively in my books, I was very, very promiscuous.”
“Now during that time of promiscuity the relationships I had were absolutely, always consensual,” he added. “I was always transparent about that then, almost too transparent, and I am being transparent about it now as well.”
Brand also suggested that the reports were part of a coordinated attack designed to discredit him because of his views. Brand has been criticized for expressing skepticism about COVID-19 vaccines and interviewing contentious podcasters like Joe Rogan.
“To see that transparency metastasized into something criminal, that I absolutely deny, makes me question is there another agenda at play,” Brand said.
Brand rose to fame as a stand-up comic in Britain in the early 2000s, which led to starring roles on Channel 4 and later BBC Radio, where he capitalized on a reputation for outrageous behavior and risque banter.
He later made the jump to Hollywood, appearing in films such as “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” in 2008 and the remake of “Arthur” in 2011. Brand was married to U.S. pop star Katy Perry from 2010-2012.
In recent years, he transformed himself into a political commentator and influencer posting YouTube videos on subjects such as personal freedom and the COVID-19 pandemic.
Danica Kirka, The Associated Press