September 23, 2023

Scotland Yard is investigating an allegation that Russell Brand sexually assaulted a woman in central London 20 years ago.

The incident is alleged to have taken place in Soho in 2003 before Brand, 48, was a major household name.

The Metropolitan Police said it was made aware of the alleged offence on Sunday and officers were now in contact with the woman, who is not thought to be one of those who made claims at the weekend.

As more alleged victims came forward, Downing Street described the claims against Brand as “very serious and concerning”.

The charity watchdog announced it was examining his Stay Free addiction foundation, promoters cancelled all remaining dates on his live tour and his publisher cut all ties.

Victims urged to contact police

Detectives were passed information about an alleged 2003 sexual assault at the weekend following the publication of a string of allegations against the comedian and actor.

In a statement, which did not name Brand, a Scotland Yard spokesman said: “We are aware of reporting by The Sunday Times and Channel 4’s Dispatches about allegations of sexual offences.

“On Sunday, 17 September, the Met received a report of a sexual assault which was alleged to have taken place in Soho in central London in 2003. Officers are in contact with the woman and will be providing her with support.”

The force also urged all victims to contact the police and report any alleged offences.

The spokesman went on: “We continue to encourage anyone who believes they may have been a victim of a sexual offence, no matter how long ago it was, to contact us.”

At the weekend four women accused Brand of rape, sexual assault and abuse with the alleged incidents said to have taken place between 2006 and 2013 in Britain and the United States.

Brand has vehemently denied all the allegations.

Russell Brand statement in full

Russell Brand statement in full

On Monday the Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “These are very serious and concerning allegations.

“The Met Police has asked anyone who believes they have been a victim of a sexual assault to come forward to speak to officers.”

The spokesman went on: “The Prime Minister has been clear there should never be any space for harassment, regardless of where it is found.”

Further details about allegations

On Monday one of Brand’s alleged victims, a 16-year-old schoolgirl known as “Alice”, spoke in more detail about her allegations.

She claimed he had groomed her after meeting her in the street and later forced her to perform a sex act on him.

She also described how during their relationship he sent a BBC car to pick her up from school.

Speaking on Woman’s Hour on Monday, Alice demanded to know why the BBC had not kept a closer eye on Brand, given his reputation.

She said: “He had a very well-known record of doing things that were inappropriate on the air, having inappropriate confessions. I don’t think he was being held to the same standards [as] other presenters [or] anybody else that was working at the BBC.

“There were exceptions and allowances made for him and we need to ask ourselves why.”

The existence of an allegation dating back to 2003, suggests the timeframe of potential offending is even wider than first thought. The allegations featured in The Sunday Times and Dispatches span from 2006 to 2013.

While Brand began his career on the stand up comedy circuit in 2000 he did not become a household name until around 2004 when he was hired to present a Big Brother spin off programme on E4.

He was later hired by the BBC to present shows on 6 Music and Radio 2, but was fired in 2008 after leaving lewd messages for Fawlty Towers actor, Andrew Sachs.

After that he moved to Hollywood where he landed roles in a string of hit films.

Russell Brand CV

Russell Brand CV

He has since reinvented himself as a wellness guru, but the allegations of sexual abuse raise serious questions for broadcasters and other companies that employed him during this period.

There are claims senior executives were aware of concerns about Brand, but brushed them under the carpet.

Just hours after the revelations were made public, both the BBC and Channel 4 confirmed they had launched urgent investigations to establish what was known about Brand’s behaviour.

Caroline Dinenage, chairman of the Culture, Media and Sport Committee said MPs would be examining “who knew what and when, and the extent to which any reports that happened at the time were investigated”.

She said: “What’s concerned me most has been the reaction across media and social media from the number of people that are saying ‘this is shocking but not surprising’, talking about open secrets and how this was, people were turning a blind eye, and that’s what does worry me and I think that’s what my committee will be looking at.

“The extent to which any of these really powerful and influential TV talent are able to use that, exploit that enormous power and influence to potentially damage the lives and careers of other people.”

Ms Dinenage said she would not “preempt” the work of the committee but said she expected it would write to “all the organisations concerned”.

Lucy Frazer, the Culture Secretary, is expected to speak to broadcasters about their investigations into Russell Brand at the next opportunity.

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