London: Britain’s public broadcaster, the BBC, said on Sunday it was urgently looking into allegations of sexual assault made against its former employee, the comedian and actor Russell Brand.
Brand issued a denial on Saturday to unspecified criminal allegations hours before the accusations of sexual assault, including rape, were published online by the Times newspaper and later aired on Dispatches, a Channel 4 investigative journalism program.
The media outlets accused the comedian – now also a social influencer – of rape, sexual assault and abuse over a seven-year period from 2006 to 2013 when Brand was at the height of his fame.
The allegations came from four women who did not know each other. One said Brand assaulted her when she was 16 and still at school.
Brand, who is currently on tour in England, worked on BBC radio programmes between 2006 and 2008. During the period covered by the allegations, he also worked on Hollywood films and on programs made for Channel 4, including various Big Brother spinoffs.
Two of the accusers reported that the incidents occurred in Los Angeles, the Times said.
“The documentary and associated reports contained serious allegations, spanning a number of years,” the BBC said on Sunday. “Russell Brand worked on BBC radio programmes between 2006 and 2008 and we are urgently looking into the issues raised.”
The charity Trevi, which helps women affected by violence and abuse, said it had ended its association with Brand, and Tavistock Wood, a talent agency, said in a statement it had terminated all professional ties with the comedian.
“Russell Brand categorically and vehemently denied the allegation made in 2020, but we now believe we were horribly misled by him,” it said.