Channel 4 boss addresses 'disgusting' Russell Brand allegations at TV event

Brand worked on several different BBC and Channel 4 shows. Credit: AP

Channel 4 chief executive Alex Mahon has addressed the allegations levelled at Russell Brand, saying she found the claims "disgusting and saddening".

She spoke as Channel 4 and fellow BBC bosses appear at a TV industry event amid rape and sexual assault allegations being made against the comedian.

Both broadcasters have launched investigations into the comedian and actor’s time at their channels, along with removing content featuring Brand from their platforms.

As she welcomed the attendees to the Royal Television Society’s Cambridge Convention, Ms Mahon said: “The allegations made against Russell Brand are horrendous and as a CEO of Channel 4 and as a woman in our industry, I found the behaviours described in Dispatches and The Sunday Times and The Times articles disgusting and saddening.

“The allegations of course need to be followed up further and we and the BBC and Banijay are busy investigating.”

Brand pictured after resigning from his BBC Radio 2 show in 2008, when he and Jonathan Ross made lewd calls on air. Credit: PA

Brand, who used to present Channel 4’s Big Brother spin-off shows EFourum and Big Brother’s Big Mouth and work on BBC Radio 2 and BBC Radio 6 Music programmes, has strongly denied the allegations.

Ms Mahon, who is also RTS convention chairwoman, opened the conference and is chairing a panel which looks at the content habits of the UK public along with a Q&A with Lucy Frazer after the Culture Secretary delivers a keynote address.

Culture, Media and Sport Committee chairwoman Dame Caroline Dinenage wrote to broadcasters on Tuesday, including Channel 4 and the BBC, to request further details on what actions they are taking in response to the allegations.

Dame Caroline asked for the broadcasters to set out the time for completion of the investigation and urged them to “disclose” the information that can be made public.

In a letter to the commons committee on Monday, and published on Tuesday online, Ms Mahon said: “Since becoming aware of some of the allegations, just over a week ago, we have carried out extensive document searches and thus far have found no evidence to suggest the alleged incidents were brought to the attention of Channel 4 management at the time.

BBC director-general Tim Davie Credit: PA

“We will continue to look at this issue and will forensically examine any further information, including the accounts of those affected.”

Brand has been accused of rape, assault and emotional abuse between 2006 and 2013, when he was at the height of his fame.

The claims, date from when he was working at the BBC, Channel 4, and starring in Hollywood films, were published in a joint investigation by The Times, Sunday Times and Channel 4’s Dispatches.

In the documentary, footage was shown of the actor making comments about female BBC staff on his radio show.

A researcher also claimed concerns about Brand’s behaviour were reported to production managers at Endemol, the company commissioned by Channel 4 to produce the programmes in 2004 and 2005, but were dismissed.

Russell Brand, pictured leaving his comedy show in London on Saturday, vehemently denies the allegations. Credit: PA

Another probe is being conducted by Banijay UK, which bought Endemol, the company commissioned by Channel 4 to produce the Big Brother spin-off shows the presenter hosted, into his behaviour while he was working on its programmes.

The BBC has announced a review into Brand’s time at the corporation between 2006 and 2008 which Mr Davie said will have an “initial report in weeks, not months”.

During a long-arranged session with BBC staff on Tuesday, he said the probe will be led by the BBC’s director of editorial complaints Peter Johnston and “the objective is to be totally transparent”.

He also said: “The review will also look at the position regarding any cars used by the BBC at that time – because that was obviously something that, again, in a powerful testimony, was mentioned.”

The Times reported on Monday that a woman claims Brand used the BBC’s car service to pick her up from school when she was 16 so she could visit his home.

On Tuesday, both video hosting site YouTube, who hosts Brand’s channel, and podcasting platform Acast, where his Under The Skin podcast appears, said that he will not make money from advertisements on their sites and apps.

According to Companies House, he also resigned as a director of both performing arts business One Arm Bandit and filming company Mayfair Film Partnership.

Brand's former manager, John Noel, told reporters he was 'very surprised' by the allegations

The news comes after the remaining shows of Brand’s Bipolarisation tour were postponed and the Metropolitan Police said it had received a report of an alleged sexual assault in the wake of media allegations.

Brand still has a presence on video platform Rumble, where his channel has 1.4 million followers and he hosts a weekly live show at 5pm BST, but there was no new episode on Monday or Tuesday.

His most recent video is a short clip from Friday denying the claims which also include allegations of controlling, abusive and predatory behaviour

Brand said he has been “promiscuous” but that all of his relationships have been “consensual”.

On his channels, he covers news stories, including alleged misinformation surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic and being an outspoken sceptic of the vaccine.

Last year, one of his videos was taken down on YouTube over the site’s policy on Covid-19 disinformation, which prompted Brand to move his channel to Rumble.

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