TV bosses ‘said female crew would be taken off show fronted by Russell Brand because of fear they’d be assaulted or harassed’ alleged victim says – amid claims comedian’s ‘sinister behaviour’ was an ‘open secret’ among BBC and Channel 4 senior executives

TV bosses have been accused of offering to take female staff members off shows fronted by Russell Brand after concerns about his alleged behaviour were raised.

It comes amid reports that accusations about his ‘sinister’ behaviour towards women were an ‘open secret’ among TV and radio executives.

Bosses at the BBC and Channel 4 are accused of turning a blind eye towards the entertainer’s behaviour while he worked for them as a presenter between 2006 and 2013.

The broadcasters have insisted they took all necessary steps over him, but executives could still be called before a Government select committee where MPs will grill them over what they knew.

The 48-year-old’s behaviour is alleged to have been common knowledge among female performers on the comedy circuit, who are said to warned each other about him. 

Brand has been accused of rape, sexual assault and emotional abuse by multiple women, including one who says she was 16 at the time.

He has posted a video on YouTube and Twitter refuting the allegations and insisted relationships at the time of his promiscuity’ were ‘consensual’. 

Russell Brand pictured on Saturday evening leaving the Troubabour Wembley Park theatre in north-west London after performing a comedy set

The BBC and Channel 4 are likely to face questions being accused of turning a blind eye to Russell Brand's behaviour while he worked for them. Pictured: Brand leaving Monroe's Club in the West End in 2009

The BBC and Channel 4 are likely to face questions being accused of turning a blind eye to Russell Brand’s behaviour while he worked for them. Pictured: Brand leaving Monroe’s Club in the West End in 2009

Alice - not her real name - claims that Brand assaulted her when he was 31 and she was 16 and his 'sex addict personality is just a smokescreen for his dark behaviour'

Alice – not her real name – claims that Brand assaulted her when he was 31 and she was 16 and his ‘sex addict personality is just a smokescreen for his dark behaviour’

However, his attitude towards women is alleged to have been an open secret in radio and TV production, according to sources who briefed The Sunday Times.

One woman, who says she was abused by the comic when she was 16 years old and later worked at Channel 4, has alleged that in a meeting in late 2013 or early 2014, Brand’s name came up as a potential host for a show.

However, the woman, who was given the fake name ‘Alice’ in the investigation, claims that in response to allegations about his behaviour, bosses suggested removing all female members of staff instead of the comic.

She told The Sunday Times: ‘The solution that was offered was that we would take the female staff off the crew – women that have worked hard to get into this industry – now can’t work on particular shows because of fear that they might be assaulted or harassed. I was in disbelief.’ 

He also has a history of making high-profile and controversial remarks about women on his shows – including calling newsreader Andrea Simmons a ‘sex bomb’ and describing her as ‘erotic’ and saying he wanted to ‘go under the desk’ while she was reading the news.

In 2008 a ferocious public backlash was sparked after Brand and Jonathan Ross called the much-loved Fawlty Towers actor Andrew Sachs during Brand’s show and left lewd messages on his answerphone – including bragging about sex with Sachs’s granddaughter Georgina Baillie, with whom he had a brief relationship.

According to The Sunday Times many believe the BBC should been awake to the concerns about Brand’s behaviour on his show well before the Sachsgate scandal.

Reportedly, a serious complaint was made by BBC staff to the station’s Controller Lesley Douglas about Brand’s behaviour in the studio, in December 2007.

The Times has reported that the complaint followed an ‘alarming display of aggression and disrespect’ by the radio host where he hurled objects in a fit of rage.

It also reported he urinated in a bottle in full view of production staff and a guest – who ‘appeared to be a minor’ – and had been invited to appear on Radio 2 by a charity.

This alleged complaint and any others that had been made were not mentioned in subsequent official reports into Sachsgate.

Douglas’ lawyers have said she ‘did not at any time encourage, enable and/or fail herself to take any adequate steps within her power with regard to the conduct of Russell Brand of which she was aware’.

‘She is presently unable to provide any further information which may be relevant to the matters raised in this article due to the obligations owed by her to her former employer,’ her lawyers added.

Brand left the BBC after the serious editorial breach in 2008 as did Douglas.

Last night the BBC confirmed that it did not investigate complaints made about Brand between 2006 and 2008 when he hosted shows for Radio 2 and 6 Music

Last night the BBC confirmed that it did not investigate complaints made about Brand between 2006 and 2008 when he hosted shows for Radio 2 and 6 Music

A BBC spokesperson said: ‘The circumstances of the breach were reviewed in detail at the time. We hope that demonstrates that the BBC takes issues seriously and is prepared to act. 

‘We will always listen to people if they come forward with any concerns, on any issue related to any individual working at the BBC, past or present.’ 

However, the BBC also confirmed that it did not investigate pre-Sachsgate complaints made about Brand between 2006 and 2008 when he hosted shows for Radio 2 and 6 Music.

Several times after this it is implied that Brand was forced to apologise by production staff, yet despite this, his career continued to flourish.

Two of the women in Channel 4’s Dispatches which aired on Saturday night said they felt production companies had ‘enabled’ Brand’s behaviour.

Production runner, Rachel, 24, worked alongside Brand on Big Brother’s EFourum, later Big Mouth. Weeks after she started the role, Brand is said to have focused his attention on her.

Rachel said: ‘It’s difficult to say when the line was crossed.’ She added that producers often asked her to deliver unfavourable news to Brand to ‘soften the blow’. 

She said the pair went on to have sex, which he told her was a breach of his contract.    

Rachel said: ‘He made clear to me I couldn’t tell anyone else on the crew because he had it written into his contract that he wasn’t allowed to have any sexual contact with anyone working on Big Brother.

‘It sounds slightly dramatic but with hindsight and now as an older woman I can say with clarity that, you know, I felt like I was groomed, for sex.

‘Production companies enabled him to exist in these environments where he was able to take advantage of who he was.’

Three staff who worked on Big Brother told Dispatches about Brand.

One said: ‘My role was to recruit audience members for the live show. We used to go out flyering out by the universities, find university students who would come be on the show.’

Brand pictured leaving a theatre in Wembley after his comedy set on Saturday night

Brand pictured leaving a theatre in Wembley after his comedy set on Saturday night

Russell Brand took to his YouTube channel to 'absolutely deny' what he called 'serious allegations' ahead of a mystery Channel 4 Dispatches investigation

Russell Brand took to his YouTube channel to ‘absolutely deny’ what he called ‘serious allegations’ ahead of a mystery Channel 4 Dispatches investigation

Another said: ‘Russell is pointing out audience members and asking the runner to get phone numbers.’

A third said they would be handed paper sometimes telling which hotel Brand was in.

The production staff said they received tearful phone calls the next day from those that had been to see the comedian.

One said: ‘It was like we were taking lambs into slaughter. We were basically acting like pimps to Russell Brand’s needs.’

In a statement, Channel 4 said: ‘Channel 4 is appalled to learn of these deeply troubling allegations, including behaviour alleged to have taken place on programmes made for Channel 4 between 2004 and 2007. 

‘We are determined to understand the full nature of what went on. We have carried out extensive document searches and have found no evidence to suggest the alleged incidents were brought to the attention of Channel 4. We will continue to review this in light of any further information we receive, including the accounts of those affected individuals.

‘We will be asking the production company who produced the programmes for Channel 4 to investigate these allegations and report their findings properly and satisfactorily to us.

‘In the many years since the alleged incidents took place, there has obviously been extensive change in Channel 4’s management and commissioning teams. Today, Channel 4 has a zero-tolerance approach to unacceptable behaviour and has a robust Code of Conduct. We require all suppliers to have in place rigorous safeguarding policies and provide whistleblowing support, including Channel 4’s Speak Up facility.

‘We are committed to ensuring our industry has safe, inclusive and professional working environments.’

Other allegations concern his alleged behaviour while working as a radio host for the BBC (Brand is pictured visiting SiriusXM Studios on October 14, 2014 in New York City)

Other allegations concern his alleged behaviour while working as a radio host for the BBC (Brand is pictured visiting SiriusXM Studios on October 14, 2014 in New York City)

In December 2007, a serious complaint was made by BBC staff to the station's Controller Lesley Douglas (pictured) about Brand's behaviour in the studio, according to The Times

In December 2007, a serious complaint was made by BBC staff to the station’s Controller Lesley Douglas (pictured) about Brand’s behaviour in the studio, according to The Times  

While working for the BBC, Brand jokingly offered to bring a naked female employee with him when meeting Jimmy Savile.

During the phone call with Savile in May 2007, five years before his crimes were exposed, Brand said: ‘I’ve got a personal assistant. And part of her job description is that anyone I demand she greet, meet, massages, she has to do it. She’s very attractive, Jimmy.’ 

There is no suggestion that Brand knew that Savile was one of Britain’s worst sex offenders, with the vast majority of reports about the DJ’s crimes only coming to light after his death in 2011.

Reportedly, a serious complaint was made by BBC staff to the station’s Controller Lesley Douglas about Brand’s behaviour in the studio, in December 2007.

The Times has reported that the complaint followed an ‘alarming display of aggression and disrespect’ by the radio host where he hurled objects in a fit of rage. 

It also reported he urinated in a bottle in full view of production staff and a guest – who ‘appeared to be a minor’ – and had been invited to appear on Radio 2 by a charity.

This alleged complaint and any others that had been made were not mentioned in subsequent official reports into Sachsgate.

In 2008 a ferocious public backlash was sparked after Brand and Jonathan Ross called the much-loved Fawlty Towers actor Andrew Sachs during Brand's show and left lewd messages on his answerphone

In 2008 a ferocious public backlash was sparked after Brand and Jonathan Ross called the much-loved Fawlty Towers actor Andrew Sachs during Brand’s show and left lewd messages on his answerphone

Sachsgate erupted in 2008 after Brand and Jonathan Ross called the much-loved Fawlty Towers actor Andrew Sachs during Brand’s show and left lewd messages on his answerphone.

Ross said ‘He f***** your granddaughter’ in the pre-recorded broadcast. 

Brand had been in a sexual relationship with Sachs’ granddaughter, Georgina Baillie, which the actor had not been aware of.

A BBC spokesman confirmed that several complaints were made to former Radio 2 controller Lesley Douglas, but they were never investigated, adding that they ‘only went as far as that’ and ‘nothing was done’.

The BBC spokesman added that Ms Douglas resigned in 2008 after the Sachsgate scandal.

Alice said her and Brand's relationship took a darker turn when he forced her to perform oral sex - Brand denies the allegations

Alice said her and Brand’s relationship took a darker turn when he forced her to perform oral sex – Brand denies the allegations

Sources said there were no plans to launch a fresh investigation into the allegations.

A representative for Ms Douglas said: ‘Ms Douglas did not at any time encourage, enable and/or fail herself to take any adequate steps within her power with regard to the conduct of Russell Brand of which she was aware.’

The BBC did not respond to questions about concerns being ignored by senior colleagues. It said: ‘Over successive years the BBC has evolved its approach to how it manages talent and how it deals with complaints and issues raised.’

Meanwhile, Channel 4 confirmed last night that it had ordered a probe into claims that staff working with Brand on the reality TV spin-off Big Brother’s Big Mouth in 2005 were made to feel like ‘pimps’ when he told them to find female audience members for him to meet.

It was also alleged that Brand’s behaviour towards young women ‘raised questions’.

Meanwhile, Channel 4 confirmed last night that it had ordered a probe into claims that staff working with Brand on the reality TV spin-off Big Brother¿s Big Mouth in 2005 were made to feel like ¿pimps¿

Meanwhile, Channel 4 confirmed last night that it had ordered a probe into claims that staff working with Brand on the reality TV spin-off Big Brother’s Big Mouth in 2005 were made to feel like ‘pimps’

One worker revealed times when she had to collect Brand from his hotel room and he would appear in his underwear, suggesting they had a ‘quickie’ before filming. Another staff member said they were left ‘in tears’ by his behaviour.

A spokeswoman for the network said it had told Endemol, the company that made Big Brother’s Big Mouth, to investigate the claims fully and report back. 

She said: ‘We will be asking the production company who produced the programmes for Channel 4 to investigate these allegations and report their findings properly and satisfactorily to us.’

She added that the broadcaster was ‘determined to understand the full nature of what went on’ and had ‘carried out extensive document searches and found no evidence to suggest the alleged incidents were brought to the attention of Channel 4’.

However, staff at Channel 4 have accused their bosses of ‘passing the buck’ to Endemol, with one telling The Mail on Sunday: ‘They commission the production company and therefore they have a responsibility to make sure that their staff are treated properly and that complaints are dealt with properly and swiftly. It’s typical Channel 4.’

The BBC did not respond to Dispatches’ questions about concerns being ignored by senior colleagues. It said: ‘Over successive years the BBC has evolved its approach to how it manages talent and how it deals with complaints and issues raised.’

It also apologised for failing to respond to Dispatches’ freedom of information requests asking for details of complaints about Brand.

In Dispatches’ episode, Lorraine Heggesy, Senior Television Executive and BBC One Controller 2000 – 2005, said: ‘Both the broadcaster and production company are jointly responsible for duty of care and for standards to be upheld during the production.’

Russell Brand’s comments in full:  

Hello there you awakening wonders. Now this is not the usual type of video we make on this channel where we critique, attack and undermine the news in all its corruption because in this story I am the news.

I have received two extremely disturbing letters – or a letter and an email – one from a mainstream media TV company, one from a newspaper listing a litany of extremely egregious and aggressive attacks, as well as some pretty stupid stuff, like my community festival should be stopped and I shouldn’t be able to attack mainstream media narratives on this channel.

But amidst this litany of astonishing rather baroque attacks are some very serious allegations that I absolutely refute. These allegations pertain to a time when I was in the mainstream, when I was in the newspapers all the time, when I was in the movies, and as I’ve written about extensively in my books I was very, very promiscuous.

During that time of promiscuity the relationships I had were absolutely always consensual. I was always transparent about that then, almost too transparent, and I am being transparent about it now as well.

And to see that transparency metastasized into something criminal that I absolutely deny makes me question is there another agenda at play. 

Particularly when we have seen coordinated media attacks before, like Joe Rogan where he dared to take a medicine the mainstream media didn’t approve of and we saw a spate of headlines of media outlets around the world using the same language.

I am aware that you guys in the comments have been for a while saying ‘watch out Russell, they’re coming for you,’ ‘you are getting too close to the truth’, ‘Russell Brand did not kill himself’.’

I know a year ago there was a spate of articles: Russell Brand is a conspiracy theorists; Russell Brand is right wing.

I am aware of newspapers making phone calls, sending letters to people I know. For ages and ages, it’s been clear to me or at least feels to be there’s a serious and consorted agenda to control these kinds of spaces and these kind of voices.

I need my voice along with your voice. I don’t mind them using my books and my stand up to talk about my promiscuous sexual conduct in the past. What I seriously refute are these very, very serious, criminal allegations.

Also its worth mentioning that there are witnesses whose evidence directly contradicts the narratives that these two mainstream media outlets are trying to construct, apparently in what seems to be to me a coordinated attack.

Now, I don’t want to get into this any further because of the serious nature of the allegations but I feel like I’m being attacked and plainly they are working very closely together.

We are obviously going to look into this matter because it is very, very serious. 

In the meantime, I want you to stay close, stay awake but more importantly than any of that, if you can stay free. 

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