British police said Monday that they had received a sexual assault allegation after media outlets published claims by several women against comedian and actor Russell Brand. Promoters postponed the remaining dates in a string of live gigs by Brand, who denies the allegations.
Talent agency Tavistock Wood and publisher Bluebird have also parted ways with Brand over the claims, which have left the U.K. entertainment industry facing questions about whether the comedian’s alleged behaviour went unchallenged because of his fame.
Brand, 48, denies allegations of sexual assault made by four women in a Channel 4 television documentary and The Times and Sunday Times newspapers.
The accusers, who have not been named, include one who said she was sexually assaulted during a relationship with him when she was 16. Another woman says Brand raped her in Los Angeles in 2012.
London’s Metropolitan Police force said that since the allegations were made public it had received “a report of a sexual assault which was alleged to have taken place in Soho in central London in 2003.” That is three years before the earliest of the alleged assaults reported by the media outlets.
The police force said “officers are in contact with the woman and will be providing her with support.” It did not identify the alleged perpetrator as Brand, but referred to the newspaper and TV allegations in its statement. Police urged “anyone who believes they may have been a victim of a sexual offence, no matter how long ago it was, to contact us.”
The Times said Monday that more women had contacted the newspaper with allegations against Brand and they would be “rigorously checked.”
Lawmaker calls for investigation
Max Blain, spokesman for Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, said the claims were “very serious and concerning.” Conservative legislator Caroline Nokes, who chairs the House of Commons Women and Equalities Committee, urged police in both Britain and the United States to investigate the “incredibly shocking” allegations.
The allegations reported by the newspapers and Channel 4 cover the period between 2006 and 2013, when Brand was a major star in Britain with a growing U.S. profile.
Known for his unbridled and risque standup routines, he hosted shows on radio and television, wrote memoirs charting his battles with drugs and alcohol, appeared in several Hollywood movies and was briefly married to pop star Katy Perry between 2010 and 2012.
The BBC, Channel 4 and the production company behind the Big Brother reality series — spinoffs of which were hosted by Brand — all say they have launched investigations into Brand’s behaviour and how complaints were handled.
In recent years Brand has largely disappeared from mainstream media but has built up a large following online with videos mixing wellness and conspiracy theories.
His YouTube channel, which has more than six million subscribers, has featured COVID-19 conspiracy theories, vaccine misinformation and interviews with controversial broadcasters including Tucker Carlson and Joe Rogan.