Russell Brand, one of the UK’s most recognisable comedic figures, has recently been faced with a spate of shocking sexual misconduct allegations following the release of Channel 4’s newest Dispatches documentary.
By Omar Malik (He/Him)
Brand, 48, is distinguished by his flamboyant, eccentric style and mannerisms, which made him a mainstay in 2000s British culture.
However, a recent Channel 4 Dispatches documentary has investigated the allegations of sexual assaults committed by Brand over a span of seven years.
The victims in the documentary are disguised to protect their identity, and the details of their stories are harrowing. One woman told of how Brand was forceful and degrading, before subsequently assaulting her at his Los Angeles home.
Another woman, referred to as Alice, revealed that Brand embarked on a three-month relationship with her while she was 16-years-old and the star was 30-years-old. Alice detailed how, in 2006, Brand had arranged for her to be picked up from school and taken to him – back when the comedian was already a household name.
Allegedly grooming her by persuading her to lie to her parents about their relationship, Alice’s story has prompted calls for the British government to overhaul the country’s consent laws.
Aggressively misogynistic statements have been recurrent throughout Brand’s comedic career, and while Noughties culture permitted and defended comedy as an offensive art, we are now in a post-#MeToo movement era. Male celebrities are nowadays rightfully held accountable for their abuse of power – with the international outcry regarding Brand’s allegations demonstrating this.
The nature of the allegations, combined with Brand’s brash displays of arrogance have resulted in comparisons to notorious predator, and previous BBC presenter, Jimmy Savile. Savile’s horrific crimes shocked the nation and prompted promises of more transparency and gravity by the BBC regarding such allegations.
Brand interviewed Savile for his BBC radio show in 2007, years before the latter’s nature was revealed, in which he ‘joked’ that he would take his female assistant to the Top of the Pops presenter’s house, where she would be naked.
Such lewd jokes being shared uncensored on a reputable BBC radio show merely highlight how lax society was in terms of celebrities abusing their positions of authority.
Brand has since seen his popular YouTube channel demonetised, his live shows postponed, and charities have now distanced themselves from the disgraced star. While the Metropolitan Police are officially investigating a report of alleged sexual assault by the comedian back in 2003.
Since high school, I have been immersed in numerous areas of journalism.
Volunteering and interning at establishments focused on sports journalism, media reporting on underrepresented groups including disabled people, as well as writing monthly articles in my own time, the field of journalism has always captured my attention over the past decade.
I graduated in 2022 in English Literature MA Hons from the University of Edinburgh, and I feel as though those analytical and stylistic teachings have only aided my pursuit for a career in media writing and reporting, especially as I undertake a Masters in Digital Journalism MLitt at Strathclyde University.