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Caroline Nokes calls for police investigation into Russell Brand allegations as broadcasters launch probes

Caroline Nokes calls for police investigation into Russell Brand allegations as broadcasters launch probes

A senior Tory MP has called for a criminal investigation into allegations that Russell Brand sexually assaulted multiple women.

Women and Equalities Select Committee chairman Caroline Nokes said there are “some serious questions to be answered about who knew what and when” and what channels there were for people working with the comedian to raise concerns.

“These allegations are incredibly shocking and criminal,” she told BBC Radio 4 on Monday.

“I would very much hope that complaints will be made to the Metropolitan Police and indeed in the States. This merits and needs a criminal investigation because for too long we have seen men, and the perpetrators of these sorts of crimes are invariably men, not being held to account for their behaviours and their actions.”

Channel 4 and the BBC have both launched probes following the assault allegations made against Brand by at least four different women.

The BBC said it is “urgently looking into the issues raised” in the joint investigation by The Times, The Sunday Times, and Channel 4 Dispatches.

Brand, who worked for BBC radio for two years, has denied accusations of sexual assaults against four women who spoke in the Dispatches documentary, Russell Brand: In Plain Sight.

The alleged assaults took place between 2006 and 2013 and the Met police said it would speak to the documentary makers about the claims although they had not received any complaints from alleged victims.

Ms Nokes said her committee is investigating sexism in the music industry and has heard “similarly shocking” stories from women.

She added: “At the moment my committee is looking at misogyny in the music industry where we have heard similarly shocking and appalling stories and we have heard from women who have been too scared to speak out.”

The allegations made against Brand include one woman who claims she was sexually assaulted during a three-month relationship with him when she was 16 and still at school.

The woman, who was of the age of consent at the time, described his behaviour towards her as “grooming” as he would allegedly provide her with scripts on how to deceive her parents into allowing her to visit him.

It is alleged that the BBC sent a car service to pick up the teen girl from her school so that she could play truant and visit him at his home.

She told the Times she remembers going to and from his home in north London in a chauffeur-driven car paid for by the broadcaster.

The BBC said in a statement: “The documentary and associated reports contained serious allegations, spanning a number of years. Russell Brand worked on BBC radio programmes between 2006 and 2008 and we are urgently looking into the issues raised.”

Meanwhile Channel 4 has said it is conducting its own internal investigation, adding: “We have asked the production company who produced the programmes for Channel 4 to investigate these allegations and report their findings properly and satisfactorily to us.

“Channel 4 is also conducting its own internal investigation, and we would encourage anyone who is aware of such behaviour to contact us directly.”

The statement continued: “We will be writing to all our current suppliers reminding them of their responsibilities under our Code of Conduct, as we are committed to ensuring our industry has safe, inclusive and professional working environments.”

Meanwhile a production company has also launched a probe into allegations of serious misconduct against Brand while he was presenting TV shows in the mid-2000s.

Brand has been accused of pursuing audience members for sex while presenting Big Brother spin-off shows EFourum and Big Brother’s Big Mouth on Channel 4.

A researcher claimed concerns about Brand’s behaviour were reported to production managers at Endemol, the company commissioned by Channel 4 to produce the programmes in 2004 and 2005 but were dismissed.

A statement from Banijay UK, which bought Endemol in 2020, said: “In light of the very serious allegations raised by Dispatches and The Times/Sunday Times investigation relating to the alleged serious misconduct of Russell Brand while presenting shows produced by Endemol in 2004 and 2005, Banijay UK has launched an urgent internal investigation and will co-operate with any requests for information from broadcast partners and external agencies.

“We also encourage anybody who feels that they were affected by Brand’s behaviour while working on these productions to contact us in confidence.”

In a video posted online ahead of the documentary, Brand stated all of his relationships have been “consensual”, before accusing the media of a “co-ordinated attack”.

The Trevi Women & Children’s Charity in the UK has also announced it had ended its association with Brand and his charity, the Stay Free Foundation following the sexual assault claims.

A statement on Instagram said: “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.”

The charity said it had been “deeply saddened and upset” following the allegations against Brand, adding: “We have ended our association with Russell Brand and the Stay Free Foundation.”

The woman who was allegedly 16 when they began a relationship said she contacted Brand’s literary agent in 2020, who was also the co-founder of talent agency Tavistock Wood.

A statement from Tavistock Wood said: “Russell Brand categorically and vehemently denied the allegation made in 2020, but we now believe we were horribly misled by him. TW has terminated all professional ties to Brand.”

Another woman alleges that Brand raped her at his Los Angeles home while a third claims that Brand sexually assaulted her while she worked with him in Los Angeles and threatened to take legal action if she told anyone of the allegation.

A fourth woman claims she was sexually assaulted by Brand and alleges that he was physically and emotionally abusive towards her.

The Metropolitan Police has said it will speak to both the Sunday Times and Channel 4 to encourage alleged victims to complain to them.

The force said in a statement: “We are aware of media reporting of a series of allegations of sexual assault. At this time, we have not received any reports in relation to this.

“If anyone believes they have been the victim of a sexual assault, no matter how long ago it happened, we would encourage them to contact police.

“We spoke with the Sunday Times on Saturday, September 16. We will be making further approaches to the Sunday Times and Channel 4 to ensure that any victims of crime who they have spoken with are aware of how they may report any criminal allegations to police.”

Brand’s PR firm has also been approached for comment.