Paramount+, the streaming service owned by ViacomCBS, has decided to drop Russell Brand’s comedy special from its platform following multiple allegations of sexual assault against the British comedian. The move comes after a joint investigation by the Sunday Times, the Times and Channel 4 Dispatches revealed that four women have accused Brand of rape, sexual assaults and emotional abuse between 2006 and 2013.
Brand denies the allegations and calls them a “smear campaign”
Brand, who is known for his roles in movies like Forgetting Sarah Marshall and Get Him to the Greek, has denied all the allegations and said that he had been “very very promiscuous” but all of his relationships had been “absolutely, always consensual”. He posted a video on his social media accounts on Saturday, in which he claimed that the accusations were part of a “smear campaign” orchestrated by “powerful people” who wanted to silence him for his political views. He also said that he had evidence to prove his innocence and that he would cooperate with any police investigation.
The allegations range from rape to sexual assault and emotional abuse
The four women who have come forward with their stories have used pseudonyms to protect their identities. They allege that Brand sexually assaulted them while he was working as a BBC radio presenter, a host of Big Brother’s Big Mouth, and an actor in Hollywood films. The allegations include:
- Nadia, who claims that Brand raped her in his home in 2007 after she rejected his suggestions of a threesome. She said that she was treated by a rape crisis center following the attack but did not report it to the police at the time because she feared for her reputation and the backlash she could face. She also said that Brand sent her a text message saying that he was “very sorry” after the incident.
- Jordan Martin, who alleges that Brand sexually assaulted her and was physically and emotionally abusive towards her during a six-month relationship in 2007. She said that he assaulted her at a hotel in Manchester when he became angry after finding out that she had spoken to an ex-boyfriend. She also said that he ripped her phone case apart to pull out the battery, before touching her sexually without her consent. She wrote about her experience in a book published in 2014, which Brand has never challenged.
- Alice, who claims that Brand sexually assaulted her in 2010 after inviting her to his hotel room in Dublin. She said that he kissed her forcefully and put his hand under her skirt without her permission. She also said that he tried to pressure her into having sex with him, but she managed to escape.
- Zoe, who claims that Brand sexually assaulted her in 2013 after meeting her at a comedy club in Los Angeles. She said that he invited her to his home and then groped her breasts and genitals without her consent. She also said that he made derogatory comments about her body and appearance.
Paramount+ is not the only one to distance itself from Brand
Paramount+ is not the only company or organization that has decided to cut ties with Brand following the allegations. YouTube has suspended monetization on his channel, which has more than 2 million subscribers. Tavistock Wood Management Agency, his talent agency, has removed him from its website. Bluebird, his book publisher, has said that it has no plans to work with him in the future. Several charities that he has supported or worked with, such as Comic Relief, Sport Relief, Amnesty International and Rethink Mental Illness, have also distanced themselves from him.
The allegations against Brand have sparked a debate on social media, with some people expressing their support for the victims and others questioning their motives and credibility. Some of Brand’s fans have also defended him and accused the media of trying to ruin his career.