Most of us are just now hearing all the sexual assault allegations against Russell Brand. If you’re not up to date on that, you can get the horrible details from this weekend’s exposé HERE. The gist of it is, several women have now come forward with stories from 2006-2013 — including a girl who was just 16 at the time. And there are receipts.
Brand is not only denying any wrongdoing, he’s making out like the victim, saying in a preemptive video over the weekend that it’s all a “coordinated attack by mainstream media” because he doesn’t conform to their talking points, blah blah blah. You know, because over the past couple years he’s gone more right-wing, more conspiracy theorist, more anti-vax, etc.
We could once again get into how there IS no big press conspiracy, nothing is that organized. What has existed is power structures in which stories are crushed to protect corporate money. You know, the opposite of an exposé. Banks not wanting the Jeffrey Epstein stuff to get out, stories about Matt Lauer and Harvey Weinstein facing uphill battles, that kind of thing.
But we won’t bother. Because the thing is, even the premise is flawed. If this were a coordinated conspiracy, in which women were coming out of nowhere, there wouldn’t be a trail of slime going back YEARS. And that’s exactly what we have with Brand.
Deadline dropped a bombshell report on Monday that back in 2018 the comedian was called out in a very public forum for being a “sexual predator.” We just never saw it.
This was on a Comedy Central show called Roast Battle, the UK version. Brand co-hosted the show along with comics Katherine Ryan and Jimmy Carr for a single season. And according to the new report, Katherine repeatedly jabbed him on camera with jokes about allegations of sexually assaulting women. The nature of the show being about roasting, a lot of the hits were very personal and below the belt. But the fact this was a known area to target when it came to Brand is so telling. And we have some idea why at this point.
See, Katherine told documentarian Louis Theroux in November there was an “open secret” among women in the industry, and more specifically the British comedy community about a certain male comic. She even said others had come for this man but he had “very good lawyers”:
“It’s very dangerous for us to have this conversation. I’m happy to have it, but it’s a litigious minefield because lots of people have tried to nail this person down for their alleged crimes and this person has very good lawyers, so am I going to put my mortgage on the line by saying who this person is or entering into any conversations like that?”
She added that she herself was not assaulted but that this unnamed person, she was pretty sure was “a perpetrator of sexual assault”:
“It’s not really my story to tell. No one has perpetrated any sexual assault against me, but this person, I believe very strongly — many people believe very strongly — is an open secret, is a perpetrator of sexual assault.”
Katherine, who is Canadian but has lived and worked in the UK for years, started all this by saying in a conversation last summer with fellow comic Sara Pascoe on her Prime Video series Backstage with Katherine Ryan:
“I’ve done a show with a person you and I believe is a predator. It’s such a messy thing because I don’t have proof. I raised it. I called him a predator to his face and in front of everyone every day.”
That led to a lot of guessing on social media, as she’d narrowed it down to someone she’d regularly worked with on a show. The people she’d worked with since, like Carr for example, were eliminated, leaving many British comedy fans with only Russell Brand in mind.
So now we have this new information about Katherine calling out Russell on Roast Battle, in front of everyone. Three sources confirmed to Deadline that this happened, and Brand is the comic she to whom she was referring last year. One source said Brand was “absolutely furious” at the time, and two said he demanded producers protect him from his fellow comics’ aspersions on his character.
The confrontation was edited out of the show, like he wanted, so — like we said before, it was the media covering it up, not trying to invent something. The opposite. Always the opposite. In fact, parent company Paramount is still going full CYA with the following statement:
“We are aware of the very serious allegations raised in the investigation by The Sunday Times, The Times and Dispatches. Russell Brand was a presenter on MTV at periods between 2000-2012 and was a panellist on Comedy Central UK’s Roast Battle in 2017. We are not currently aware of any reports of misconduct having been raised with MTV or Comedy Central, but if any are brought forward they will be investigated. The welfare of all those working on, or contributing to, our shows is our highest priority and today we have robust duty of care procedures in place on all programmes produced for us including confidential whistleblowing lines.”
However, the insiders say, Fulwell 73, the production company behind Roast Battle, was no longer comfortable with Brand being on the show knowing such allegations were in the air. He was off the show the next season. As one source explained, Brand not wanting to be joked about — on a show where everyone got teased — was a dealbreaker:
“Contract negotiations were made as tricky as possible, is the best way to put it. In the end, it came down to the fact that it seemed like Russell didn’t have a good sense of humor. He didn’t feel he was fair game.”
Brand was replaced with Jonathan Ross for Season 2. The audience was none the wiser, but things did change that day. Like Hannibal Burress poking at the Bill Cosby bubble, Katherine Ryan’s confrontation did seem to have an effect after all. Deadline noted how that was the last UK show he appeared on, apart from a one-off on Celebrity Bake Off.
In fact, it’s only since then — since a woman speaking out seemingly cost him his TV career — that Brand has started to embrace more extremist views. Hmm. Almost like the cause of his downfall wasn’t his views but his actions prior to any of that.
Speaking of which, the allegations have now started to explicitly cost him work. The next three dates of his Bipolarisation tour have now been canceled — or, we should say, indefinitely postponed. Promoters said Monday evening:
“We are postponing these few remaining addiction charity fundraiser shows, we don’t like doing it — but we know you’ll understand.”
The statement was shared by the Theatre Royal Windsor just one day before he was set to do his act there. It’s unclear if this was the decision of the venue or of Brand himself, trying to duck out of the spotlight in light of the allegations.
But at least the TV disappearance does seem like it may have been due to accusations — or even fear of impending accusations — going back years. What do YOU think of this hole in Russell Brand’s defense, Perezcious readers??