TV production company behind Big Brother spin offs launches urgent probe into Russell Brand as the comic is dumped by women’s charity
A production company has launched a probe into allegations about Russell Brand’s behaviour while hosting a Big Brother spin-off.
Bannijay UK, which produced Big Brother’s EFourum and Big Brother’s Big Mouth in the early 2000s, said it had ‘launched an urgent investigation’ into the behaviour of the comedian who hosted the programmes between 2004 and 2006.
It comes after claims from former staff members who worked on the shows that Brand got them to ‘act like pimps’ by getting the numbers of women in the audience and passing notes to them from the presenter.
It was part of a larger string of bombshell claims made against the 48-year-old star which saw multiple women accusing him of abusive and predatory behaviour, including rape, sexual assault and emotional abuse, between 2006 and 2013.
Brand, who has denied all the claims and insists any relationships were ‘consensual’, was dropped by a charity working to end violence against women in light of the accusations published in The Sunday Times and on Channel 4’s Dispatches.
Last night, comedian Russell Brand was accused of rape, sexual assault and emotional abuse of four women following a bombshell investigation. Pictured: Brand leaving Troubabour Wembley Park theatre in north London following a live performance of his show
Following Channel 4’s Dispatches investigation into the alleged abuse, Trevi – a charity that supports vulnerable women and children – have cut all ties with Brand
On Brand’s charity Stay Free, he lists several organisations he donates too. Trevi said it had cut ties with Brand, however,, the Treasures Foundation said it was not making a decision at this time
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.’
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.’
A spokesperson for Bannijay UK told the Sun: ‘In light of the very serious allegations…relating to the alleged serious misconduct of Russell Brand produced by Endomol between 2004 and 2005 Bannijay UK has launched an urgent internal investigation.
‘We also ask anyone who feels that they were affected by Brand’s behaviour while working on these productions to contact us in confidence.’
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.’
Earlier today Trevi, a women’s charity that Brand has worked with for more than a year, said they had ‘ended their association’ with him.
The organisation that helps vulnerable women and children said it had been ‘deeply saddened and upset’ by the alleged victim’s stories adding its priority remains protecting the ‘safety and well-being of all women and girls’.
A photo of Brand still remains on the charity’s homepage, however, along with an article about how he is raising funds for Trevi at his new live show Bipolarisation in Plymouth on Tuesday.
In a statement posted to its Instagram just hours after the shocking documentary was released Trevi said: ‘We are deeply saddened and upset by the stories reported on this evening’s Channel 4 Dispatches programme regarding Russell Brand.
‘Russell became aware of our charity in 2022 after hearing about some of the incredible mothers we have helped to become drug-free over the years. He wanted to support our cause and raise money through his Stay Free Foundation.
‘Today’s media revelations have been difficult to process but our priority remains and continues to be the safety and well-being of all women and girls now and in the future.
‘We have ended our association with Russell Brand and the Stay Free Foundation.
‘As a charity whose values put women’s voices at the heart of what we do, we always prioritise supporting women affected by violence and abuse and empower them to live without violence and fear.’
It added that it understood how the allegations could be triggering for some women and urged those who need support to contact The Survivor Pathway.
In the investigations, one woman alleged Brand raped her against the wall in his Los Angeles home when she was in her 30s. Another – whom he referred to as ‘the child’ – told how the presenter targeted her when was 16 years old and still at school, and he was aged 30.
Last night, the Met Police said it had been made ‘aware’ of media reports about ‘a series of allegations of sexual assault’ and urged any alleged victims to come forward.
But in an extra-ordinary pre-emptive fightback, Brand took to social media ahead of the 90-minute Dispatches documentary to the social media to ‘absolutely deny’ a string of ‘very serious criminal allegations’.
The comedian is also a supporter of several other organisations, including the Friendly House – an organisation in Los Angeles that provides women seeking recovery from alcohol and other substance use.
One of the charities Brand supports is the Friendly House in Los Angeles, California. He remains on their homepage and is set to host a lunch in October
Brand is also a supporter of the BAC O’Connor Centre, which helps provide rehabilitation for recovering addicts
The comedian’s charity Stay Free, which helps those with addiction, also donates money to the Treasure Foundation.
The foundation which helps women suffering from drug abuse in East London, however, told MailOnline that it would not be cutting any ties with the comedian at present, adding that the women it supports were the priority.
It said that many of the people supported by the foundation have ‘been through sexual trauma’ and some have even ‘been perpetrators’, adding that part of the program includes practicing forgiveness.
A spokeswoman said: ‘At Treasures Foundation we only know Russell Brand in the capacity of him wanting to make amends and give back to women, hence the desire of his to give to our charity.
‘We are part of a program that practices forgiveness and making amends. Many of us have been through sexual trauma and some of us have been perpetrators.
‘We need to take this time to process what is going on, we are talking to the women we support and will be issuing feedback from them, as as always the voice of the women we support is of the upmost importance.
‘We cant make an opinion on what has come out right now. We just know him for the good that he does now.’
The comedian, who has insisted that during his ‘time of promiscuity the relationships I had were absolutely always consensual’, also supports the BAC O’Connor Centre, in Staffordshire.
The organisation helps rehabilitate those recovering from drug and alcohol addiction.
A video of Brand, who is been open about his own struggles with addiction in the past, explaining why those suffering should choose the organisation.
MailOnline has contacted Trevi, the Friendly House and BAC O’Connor.
Just hours after the allegations first came to light, Brand took centre stage at Wembley Park Theatre in front of a crowd of 2,000 people.
He told fans as he continued his tour : ‘I really appreciate your support. I love you.
‘I’ve got a lot to talk to you about. There are obviously some things I absolutely cannot talk about and I appreciate that you will understand.’
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.