Late last week, rumors began circulating in the British press that a special edition of the Channel 4 investigative show Dispatches was going to drop some bombshells about a well-known British comedian.
Social media lit up with speculation about the identity of the person in question. That speculation was quickly put to rest when it was revealed that it was Russell Brand, actually by Brand himself in a video posted to his YouTube channel:
The allegations were made in a joint investigation by the Sunday Times, the Times, and Channel 4’s Dispatches. Four women are alleging sexual assaults between 2006 and 2013. They all made the allegations after being approached by journalists working on the investigation.
Brand has denied the allegations and said his relationships have been “always consensual”. Other claims made as part of the investigation relate to Brand’s allegedly controlling, abusive, and predatory behavior.
Brand was a self-confessed sex-addict for many years. He was open about his promiscuity and it was a central part of his stand-up shows, and featured prominently in his autobiographies. It was such a part of his persona that he was named “Shagger Of The Year” by the British tabloid press.
Alongside his best-selling comedy shows, books, radio and television shows in the UK, Brand also had a high-profile Hollywood career with roles in movies such as Get Him To The Greek, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, and Rock Of Ages.
Brand was married to singer Katy Perry for two years. He turned his back on the Hollywood lifestyle and his flamboyant and controversial past, marrying again and becoming a father.
The special edition of Dispatches aired last night in the UK and contained some damning accounts from the four women.
On one hand, this could be yet another example of the entertainment industry enabling and then covering up terrible behavior. On the other side of the debate, many are asking why these allegations are only coming to light now, once Brand has a new kind of notoriety for his online channel that regularly pulls in up to 1.5 million views and attacks legacy media, big business, and the global establishment.
So the battle lines are drawn across commentators and social media. Is this another Weinsten, or another Assange?
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