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Concerns about Russell Brand’s behaviour on shows ‘not properly escalated’

Russell Brand attending a launch event for charity RAPt’s new employment services for addicts and ex-offenders at the London Recovery Hub (Jonathan Brady/PA)
Russell Brand attending a launch event for charity RAPt’s new employment services for addicts and ex-offenders at the London Recovery Hub (Jonathan Brady/PA)

An investigation into allegations against Russell Brand has found that informally raised concerns about the comedian and actor’s behaviour while he worked on several Channel 4 programmes were “not properly escalated or adequately addressed”.

The 49-year-old was accused of rape, assault and emotional abuse as part of a joint investigation by Channel 4’s Dispatches programme, The Times and Sunday Times last year.

Brand has strongly denied all accusations about his behaviour which allegedly took place at the height of his fame between 2006 and 2013.

Russell Brand on stage
Russell Brand on stage (Ian West/PA)

Following the allegations, a probe was launched by Banijay UK, which bought Endemol, the company commissioned by Channel 4 to produce Big Brother spin-off shows EFourum, Big Brother’s Big Mouth, Kings Of Comedy and Big Brother’s Celebrity Hijack, which Brand worked on between 2004 to 2006 and in 2008.

In the journalistic investigation published last September, a researcher claimed concerns about Brand’s behaviour were reported to production managers at Endemol but were dismissed.

Findings released by Karen Baxter, the head of investigations at law firm Lewis Silkin LLP who were appointed to the case, said: “No formal complaints were made about Brand during the programmes.

“There were, however, concerns regarding Brand’s behaviour which were raised informally with senior members of staff, particularly in relation to him asking runners to obtain phone numbers of audience members and female crew members feeling uncomfortable or intimidated by his behaviour while working in Bristol in 2004/2005.

“These concerns were not properly escalated or adequately addressed.”

The findings also state that Brand was employed at a time when Channel 4 and Endemol knew he was a “recovering drug addict with a reputation for being ‘edgy’” but “no particular safeguards were put in place to protect Brand, those who worked with him or those who otherwise came into contact with him”, including the audience.

His behaviour included having sexual relationships with audience members and some colleagues on the shows and sometimes being naked in front of Endemol staff, with evidence suggesting it was “tolerated as ‘Russell being Russell’”, according to the report.

However, it says they found no evidence of any complaint being raised about these issues and the relationships were understood to be consensual.

The investigation also found evidence indicating that Endemol staff felt “largely unable to raise concerns about Brand due to: his role as talent, a view that Brand’s behaviour was tolerated by senior people, a fear of not being listened to, and/or concern for their job security”.

Patrick Holland, the chief executive of Banijay UK, has apologised to “anyone who was impacted” and felt “unable to speak up or that their voice was not properly heard”.

In a statement, Mr Holland said: “Dispatches made deeply troubling allegations regarding Russell Brand’s behaviour during his time working for legacy company Endemol.

“I am grateful to Lewis Silkin for this thorough report and the learnings we can take from it.

“While Endemol did have support and escalation procedures in place during the period in question, they were clearly not understood and adhered to the degree we would expect today and were not as robust as our current UK and group-wide processes.

“Industry protocols, duty of care and expectations of behaviour have vastly improved in recent years and continue to be reviewed and progressively updated on a regular basis.

“We are extremely sorry to anyone who was impacted by this behaviour and felt unable to speak up or that their voice was not properly heard.”

Russell Brand, who has strongly denied all accusations about his behaviour
Russell Brand has strongly denied all accusations about his behaviour (John Stillwell/PA)

Earlier this year, Channel 4 boss Alex Mahon apologised to a former staff member for not investigating a “serious” allegation made against Brand in 2009 following the broadcaster’s own investigation.

However, the broadcaster found “no evidence” that staff at Channel 4 knew about the accusations made by four women in a Dispatches documentary prior to it being aired in September.

Brand, who also worked on BBC Radio 2 and BBC Radio 6 Music programmes from 2006 to 2008, told former Fox News host Tucker Carlson in a YouTube video earlier this year that the claims made against him were “very, very hurtful”.

Russell Brand has been contacted for comment.