Channel 4 CEO Alex Mahon has said that the allegations against Russell Brand show that “terrible” treatment of women was tolerated in the British television industry.
In her first comments about the scandal on a public platform, Mahon said there would be no empty words or gestures in getting to the bottom of the accusations of sexual assault against Brand.
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Opening the RTS Cambridge Convention, she said the allegations — broadcast on her own network via Channel 4’s Dispatches current affairs brand — were “disgusting and saddening.” Brand strenuously denies criminal wrongdoing.
Mahon said the evidence uncovered by Dispatches, alongside The Times and Sunday Times newspapers, revealed that “terrible behavior towards women was historically tolerated in our industry.” She said conditions had improved, but it is “still a problem.”
Channel 4 has launched an investigation into Brand. As revealed by Deadline, it has also asked third-party production companies to come forward with any evidence of potential wrongdoing.
Production group Banijay is also investigating allegations against Brand between 2004 and 2007. The comedian has been accused of flashing his penis at a runner and pursuing female audience members for sex while working on EFourum and Big Brother’s Big Mouth, produced by Banijay-owned Endemol for Channel 4.
Channel 4 has said it has “found no evidence to suggest the alleged incidents were brought to the attention” of the broadcaster in the noughties. Banijay apologized to women if they did not feel “supported and protected” while working on Big Brother.
Brand’s representatives have not responded to repeated requests for comment. Brand published a video across his social media channels in which he preemptively denied the “litany” of allegations about his criminal behavior. “The relationships that I had were absolutely always consensual,” he said. “I was always transparent about that then, almost too transparent. And I’m being transparent about it now.”
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