Russell Brand was once one of the biggest names in British comedy, starring in a string of successful Hollywood movies that made him a small fortune.
But on Saturday, the 48-year-old comic was hit by a string of damning accusations, which included rape, sexual assault and emotional abuse.
Brand vehemently denies any wrongdoing and insists his previous relationships with women were always ‘consensual’.
But the damning allegations led to Channel 4 removing all programmes linked to him on its website, including episodes of The Great British Bake Off and Big Brother’s Big Mouth in which he was featured. It also saw Brand’s PR firm MBC PR and talent agent Tavistock Wood no longer advertising him as a client.
Meanwhile, streaming giant Netflix has since been urged to remove his comedy special, Re:Birth, from its catalogue.
The 48-year-old, who lives in a £3million seven-bedroom Oxfordshire mansion with his wife Laura and their two children, is believed to have accrued £16million in wealth since his meteoric rise to fame, according to Celebrity Net Worth.
Russell Brand pictured on Saturday evening leaving the Troubabour Wembley Park theatre in north-west London after performing a comedy set
Brand owns the Crown Inn at Pishill, Oxfordshire, with wife Laura Gallacher
Brand’s litany of book deals have seen him write autobiographies, political manifestos and wellness (pictured: 2017 book Recovery)
In recent years the comedian’s profiled has been bolstered after featuring films such as Death on the Nile and Minions: The Rise of Gru, while also hosting a daily podcast on video platform Rumble.
This has seen him feature in hit films including Despicable Me and Forgetting Sarah Marshall, write best selling novels such as My Booky Wook – which led to a £1.8million publishing deal for two more books – and go on multiple sell-out stand-up tours of Britain.
Brand also runs his own companies which keep to keep his bank balance healthy. Pablo Diablo’s Legitimate Business Firm Ltd which he co-owns with his wife, for instance, saw its cash reserves grow by £2million last year. He also runs film production firm 90 Ninety Films Limited.
He has built up a loyal fanbase on social media – he has 3.8million followers on Instagram, 6.6million subscribers on YouTube, 11.2million followers on Twitter and 5.9million on Facebook.
His YouTube account – which has since been suspended for ‘violating’ its responsibility policy – is also thought to have been a solid earner for the under-fire comic.
The channel, which features a number of vaccine-sceptic videos and conspiracy theory videos, has more than 1.1billion views. Individual videos tend to get between 500,000 and one million views.
Estimates on how much cash he rakes in from it vary. However, social media expert Sara McCorquodale claimed the comedian and self-styled wellness guru could easily be making thousands of pound with each video.
Ms McCorquodale, who is the chief executive of social media analysis agency CORQ, told The Guardian: ‘He is most likely making £2,000 to £4,000 per video, not taking into account any affiliate deals and brand sponsorships that might be running in the background.’
Based on five videos a week, Brand could easily be earning the best part of £1million a year from his channel.
The actor also advertises his own self-produced podcast called ‘Stay Free with Russell Brand’. Fans of the comedian can become one of his ‘awakened wonders’ by signing up for $60 (£48) to receive exclusive content, guided meditations and even go on virtual walks with Brand.
The comedian has strenuously denied allegations that he raped, sexually assaulted and emotionally abused multiple women. Pictured: Brand in a video released on social media denying the claims
Luminary, the subscription podcast firm, also produces Brand’s interview show Under the Skin with Russell Brand. The company has not yet commented on whether it still has a business relationship with the 48-year-old.
But PR experts have now questioned whether the sex scandal facing the star could lead to his fans turning their backs on him.
PR guru Sean O’Meara says the allegations against Brand were hugely damaging – although potentially not career ending.
Mr O’Meara, managing director of communications and PR consultancy Essential Content, told MailOnline: ‘From a reputational point of view, mainstream platforms would be crazy to consider working with Brand again.
‘But that doesn’t mean he can’t have a career after this.
‘He now has no choice but to fully embrace his persona as a conspiracist crusader against the “establishment”, using social media and his own platforms, if he wants to continue being a public figure and performer.
‘That’s his only path to recovery. People will still pay to see him, but I doubt he’ll be getting the support of powerful booking agents and promoters.’
Despite the ‘horrendous’ allegations facing Brand, some claim Brand’s ‘cult following’ online may be willing to back him
Channel 4 has since removed shows from its site linked with Brand. Pictured: Brand on Celebrity Great British Bake Off
Brand hosting Big Brother’s Little Brother in May 2006 – which is another one of the show’s Channel 4 has removed from its website containing the comedian
Russell Brand pictured with his wife Laura Gallacher recently before the allegations against him emerged
Russell Brand, pictured at the Troubadour Wembley Park Theatre last night, could keep a large amount of his fanbase despite the allegations against him, a PR expert has said
PR expert Mark Borkowski says some of Brand’s fanbase will stay intact thanks to the ‘unfettered unregulated world of social media’.
But he also questioned whether Brand would have enough of a following to maintain his millionaire lifestyle – as he claimed he was uncertain about how much cash the comedian was raking in now.
‘I’ve no idea how he makes his money. I’m still bewildered about how he generates cash. It’s always been bewildering for me,’ he added.
Brand received support online from the likes of Andrew Tate and Elon Musk and his fans were out in force at a gig in Wembley on Saturday to show their support.
Mr Borkowski said that Brand has 11million followers on Twitter alone, 6.6million subscribers on YouTube and a hugely popular wellness podcast. These fans could choose to back him.
‘He [Brand] has an audience and lots and lots of people who are engaged in his content’.
He added the comedian’s denial of the accusations was reminiscent of how Donald Trump deals with accusations of improper behaviour.
Mr Borkowski said: ‘I think there will be a profound amount of people who will stand by him. Normally with allegations like this your career would be over, but not in this case, which is interesting.
‘He’s a great content generator. He didn’t get to the top of his profession because he’s mediocre. He has the power to bewitch his audience.’
Brand, 48, was accused of attacking four women between 2006 and 2013 when he was working as a presenter for BBC Radio 2 and Channel 4 and later as an actor in Hollywood. Other women have made a range of accusations about controlling, abusive and predatory behaviour.
Brand has since been dropped by a women’s charity he was working with, while TV production companies and channels have launched probes into his alleged behaviour.
In recent years Brand has found work as a stand-up comedian, podcaster and actor. Pictured: The 48-year-old in the 2022 film Death on the Nile
Alice (pictured) alleges that Russell Brand sexually assaulted her when she was 16 years old. She claims he would send a car to pick her up from her secondary school lessons, which she has since claimed was a ‘BBC car’
Bosses at Netflix have been urged to remove his comedy special, Re:Birth from its streaming catalogue
BBC chiefs scrambled to investigate Brand last night after the comedian was accused of rape.
Their probe was announced minutes before Scotland Yard piled on the pressure by announcing that detectives would like to speak to the comedian’s alleged victims.
Brand, a former star of the BBC and Channel 4, faces bombshell claims from women alleging sexual assaults, abuse and predatory behaviour – including one who was a 16-year-old schoolgirl.
But the claims from one businesswoman – who alleged Brand raped her when she refused a threesome – and another who said she was 16 when he choked her during a sexual act, prompted a firestorm yesterday.
Among the complaints raised in the investigation were allegations by a woman, referred to as Alice to protect her identity, who claims she was sexually assaulted by Brand as a 16-year-old.
She alleges he took her virginity, was ‘preoccupied’ with her being ‘innocent and pure’, and often referred to her as ‘The Child’.
Alice described his behaviour towards her as ‘grooming’ as Brand would allegedly provide her with scripts on how to deceive her parents into allowing her to visit him. She also claimed he would send his ‘BBC car’ to her secondary school to pick her up.
The comedian released a video last week refuting all the allegations against him. Pictured: Brand leaving the Troubabour Wembley Park theatre after a gig on Saturday night
Latest Russell Brand News
‘The first time I used it, he told me it was booked to take him to his radio show but he had a friend taking him instead so I should use that car,’ she told The Times.
She claimed the chauffeur once took her from Brand’s home to her grandmother’s house and that on a separate occasion the same car ‘picked me up from school’.
Alice added: ‘It was the same car…I knew that that was a BBC car.’
The BBC did not initially commit to an inquiry but amid the growing outcry, it shifted its position last night and a spokesman said it was ‘urgently looking into the issues’.
In a statement, a BBC spokesman said: ‘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.’
The broadcaster yesterday launched an internal investigation into what was known about Brand’s alleged behaviour following claims that at least one senior executive was aware of complaints against the comedian and seemingly dismissed them.
Banijay UK, which produced Big Brother’s EForum and Big Brother’s Big Mouth in the early 2000s, revealed it had also ‘launched an urgent investigation’ into the ‘very serious’ allegations from former staff who worked alongside Brand when he hosted the programmes between 2004 and 2006.
The ex-staffers have claimed that Brand got them to ‘act like pimps’ by getting the numbers of women in the audience and passing notes to them from the presenter.
Channel 4 has also said it is conducting its own internal investigation following allegations of predatory behaviour against Brand.
They said: ‘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 added: ‘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.’
The network also confirmed to the Telegraph that it has ‘taken down all content featuring Russell Brand while we look into the matter’.
Brand, who is currently taking his new stand-up show, Bipolarisation, on a tour around Britain with dates coming up in Windsor, Plymouth and Wolverhampton this month, denies claims and released a video last week insisting his relationships were ‘consensual’.
Among the most devoted fans are listeners to his podcast, on which he rails against ‘Big Pharma’ and the mainstream media, as well as promoting conspiracy theories.
The allegations of ‘sinister’ behaviour towards women made against him have the potential to end careers in showbusiness.
These include claims he made runners on Big Brother’s EFourum, which was later known as Big Brother’s Big Mouth, ‘act like pimps’ by demanding they get the numbers of women in the audience for him.
One staff member claimed she felt she was ‘groomed’ for sex by the presenter, while another said they had reported concerns about his behaviour to managers at production company Endemol. Banijay UK, which bought the firm in 2020, has launched an investigation into the claims.
In the investigations, one woman alleged Brand raped her against the wall in his Los Angeles home when she was in her 30s. Another – whom he allegedly referred to as ‘the child’ – told how the presenter targeted her when was 16 years old and still at school, and he was aged 30.
Russell Brand’s comments in full:
Hello there you awakening wonders. Now this is not the usual type of video we make on this channel where we critique, attack and undermine the news in all its corruption because in this story I am the news.
I have received two extremely disturbing letters – or a letter and an email – one from a mainstream media TV company, one from a newspaper listing a litany of extremely egregious and aggressive attacks, as well as some pretty stupid stuff, like my community festival should be stopped and I shouldn’t be able to attack mainstream media narratives on this channel.
But amidst this litany of astonishing rather baroque attacks are some very serious allegations that I absolutely refute. These allegations pertain to a time when I was in the mainstream, when I was in the newspapers all the time, when I was in the movies, and as I’ve written about extensively in my books I was very, very promiscuous.
During that time of promiscuity the relationships I had were absolutely always consensual. I was always transparent about that then, almost too transparent, and I am being transparent about it now as well.
And to see that transparency metastasized into something criminal that I absolutely deny makes me question is there another agenda at play.
Particularly when we have seen coordinated media attacks before, like Joe Rogan where he dared to take a medicine the mainstream media didn’t approve of and we saw a spate of headlines of media outlets around the world using the same language.
I am aware that you guys in the comments have been for a while saying ‘watch out Russell, they’re coming for you,’ ‘you are getting too close to the truth’, ‘Russell Brand did not kill himself’.’
I know a year ago there was a spate of articles: Russell Brand is a conspiracy theorists; Russell Brand is right wing.
I am aware of newspapers making phone calls, sending letters to people I know. For ages and ages, it’s been clear to me or at least feels to be there’s a serious and consorted agenda to control these kinds of spaces and these kind of voices.
I need my voice along with your voice. I don’t mind them using my books and my stand up to talk about my promiscuous sexual conduct in the past. What I seriously refute are these very, very serious, criminal allegations.
Also its worth mentioning that there are witnesses whose evidence directly contradicts the narratives that these two mainstream media outlets are trying to construct, apparently in what seems to be to me a coordinated attack.
Now, I don’t want to get into this any further because of the serious nature of the allegations but I feel like I’m being attacked and plainly they are working very closely together.
We are obviously going to look into this matter because it is very, very serious.
In the meantime, I want you to stay close, stay awake but more importantly than any of that, if you can stay free.