Russell Brand degraded female colleagues live on air while broadcasters turned a blind eye

Russell Brand degraded women live on air and the broadcasters gave it the green light
Russell Brand degraded women live on air and the broadcasters gave it the green light

Another day, another set of allegations which offer viewers an uncomfortable insight into the insidious nature of broadcasting in the UK.

The latest celebrity to face accusations of a sexual kind is self-confessed 'sex addict' Russell Brand.

Following a joint investigation by The Times, The Sunday Times and Channel 4 Dispatches, the comedian was accused of rape, sexual assaults and emotional abuse by a number of women, over a seven-year period at the height of his fame.

Four women have alleged sexual assaults occurred between 2006 and 2013, when Brand was working for BBC Radio 2 and Channel 4, as well as starring in Hollywood films.

Whether you believe the accounts given by these women or not, whether you think a BBC chauffeur really did collect one of the alleged victims from school to take her to Brand’s house or not, is up to you, and perhaps at some stage, a court, to decide. But there are incidents of degrading women during Brand's career that can't be denied.

Comments made on air by the now-conspiracy theorist, which crossed the line by a country mile, showed what these broadcasters thought of women and created an atmosphere that would have sent a clear message to anyone suffering any man's unwanted attention - you don't matter, this behaviour is acceptable and there is no point in raising your concerns.

From Radio 6 Music - where, in his autobiography, Brand confessed he'd been having sex with competition winners in the toilet - he was promoted to Radio 2. During his stint on the airwaves there, he directed sexual comments towards a news reader, subjecting her to remarks such as, "She's erotic that newsreader", "Blimey what a sex bomb that woman is. I'm going to go in that newsroom one of these days and while she's reading... Do you know one of my fantasies?". After an attempt by his co-host to change the direction of the conversation, Brand continued, "Coz we're gonna get under that desk and we're gonna unleash hell on your thighs woman."

Following the comments, Brand revealed, on his show, how the newsreader had expressed she was unhappy with his comments and informed senior colleagues - but that didn't prevent further inappropriate tirades. He went on: "...the producer just told me that she, we've upset her. They pointed out in the production side of our programme/show, they go, 'she ain't got the right to reply'. We say all these things about her like, 'oh yeah, it's ****, she's doing the news, imagine her just in her knickers'.”

And the newsreader wasn’t the only public victim of Brand’s misogyny. His contempt for women again reared it’s ugly head while interviewing Jimmy Saville - a celebrity who following his death was accused of a raft of sexual abuse. Allegations were also made during his lifetime, but were dismissed, with his accusers either ignored or disbelieved.

Wrapping up the interview on his BBC radio platform, Brand expressed his wish to meet Saville in person. When Saville said he would only agree to a meeting if Brand offered up one of his sisters, the reply came that he didn’t have a sister but he could instead provide one of the production assistants.

“...part of her job description is, that anyone I demand she greets, meets, massages, she has to do it. She's very attractive, Jimmy."

Jimmy replied: "Well, that's a good start. You could send her along to do some research."

Brand continued: "Would you like her to wear anything in particular Sir Jimmy?"

"I'd actually prefer her to wear nothing," came the reply.

Summing up, Brand said: "Right, so you want ****, my assistant, to meet you naked. Okay, well that's, that's not going to be a problem."

None of these conversations were held in private - these are examples of the objectification of female colleagues, broadcast to the nation, throughout his prominent career. What woman in her right mind would think her claims would be believed, or even mattered, when this is the type of content the BBC deemed appropriate to share with the nation - endorsing the degradation of females who had turned up that day simply to do their job?

Whether these allegations against Brand are proven or not, the question remains, did big broadcasters, yet again, turn a blind eye to unacceptable behaviour and serious allegations to protect their star and their ratings? And should they take responsibility for creating a culture where women felt unable to speak out against inappropriate, or potentially criminal, behaviour?