YouTube has stopped Russell Brand from being able to earn any money through his channel for ‘violating our Creator Responsibility policy’.
The 48-year-old produces around five videos a week for his 6million subscribers, earning him an estimated £1million a year.
On Saturday, The Sunday Times and Channel 4’s Dispatches reported allegations of abusive and predatory behaviour including rape, sexual assault and emotional abuse said to have been committed by the presenter between 2006 and 2013.
Brand ‘absolutely denies’ the allegations and insists all his relationships have been consensual. The Met Police said in a statement on Monday they had received an allegation of sexual assault in 2003.
The scandal has already seen Channel 4 remove all programmes linked to Brand on its website, including episodes of The Great British Bake Off and Big Brother’s Big Mouth in which he was featured. Brand’s PR firm MBC PR and talent agent Tavistock Wood no longer advertise him as a client, and his publisher has suspended their relationship.
Netflix has now been urged to remove his comedy special, Re:Birth, from its catalogue.
Russell Brand has around 6million subscribers on the platform which earn him an estimated £49,000 a month
The clips regularly touch on conspiracy theories, including the idea that the pandemic, the Ukraine war and climate change distract from the activities of the global elite
Critics claim Brand has ‘set up a cult’ online to back him since the birth of the Me Too movement in 2017 by giving a platform to conspiracy theories including the idea that the pandemic, the Ukraine war and climate change distract from the activities of the global elite.
He also has 11million followers on Twitter, 4million fans on Instagram and a hugely popular podcast with a lucrative ‘Stay Free’ merchandise range.
While no longer being able to make money on YouTube will be a blow to Brand, 48, it will do little to dent his overall net worth – which has been estimated at £16million.
A performance of Brand’s tour scheduled for today at the Theatre Royal Windsor in Berkshire was postponed, with the show’s promoters saying in a statement shared by the theatre: ‘We are postponing these few remaining addiction charity fundraiser shows, we don’t like doing it – but we know you’ll understand.’
Performances had been scheduled for two more venues this month – The Pavilions in Plymouth on Friday and The Civic At The Halls in Wolverhampton next Thursday.
Brand usually posts a new show on the video platform Rumble on weekdays at 5pm, but there was no new episode on Monday with his most recent appearance a short clip on Friday when he denied the allegations against him which were published the following day.
The comic has 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 backing.
Far-right radio host a Alex Jones, who owes $1.5billion in damages to the families of the victims of the 2012 Sandy Hook school shooting, said: ‘The matrix is coming after Russell Brand, anybody that challenges the globalists, anybody that challenges Big Pharma, anybody that’s popular, that comes out against the establishment… is going to be accused of assaulting women. Now, because he comes out against the New World Order, suddenly the allegations are happening to him’.
One fan said after allegations he abused women: ‘Somewhere along the way Russell Brand woke up and became a powerful dissenting voice who no longer served their agenda. No wonder they are desperate to destroy him’.
PR guru Mark Borkowski believes Brand has built a ‘cult following’ online who may be willing to back him despite the ‘horrendous’ accusations about his treatment of women.
Comedian Rosie Holt said: ‘I guess the lesson is kids, if sexual misconduct rumours have been swimming about you for ages, set up a cult on YouTube to support you when the allegations become public’.
One American writer said: ‘Russell Brand has known this day was coming for him since October 2017.
‘Since then, he’s strategically cultivated and groomed a new mentally-malleable cult following that distrusts both women and the media so he can continue getting high on his other drug of choice — the spotlight’.
Brand, pictured at the Troubadour Wembley Park Theatre on Saturday night, looks set to keep a large amount of his fanbase despite the allegations against him
Another said: ‘I’m aware that you guys have been saying in the comments for a while, watch out, Russell. They’re coming for you. You’re getting too close to the truth.’ A third said: ‘I’ve never seen women throw themselves at anybody like him […] Nobody ever accused him of assault. Now, because he comes out against the New World Order, suddenly the allegations are happening to him.’ Then, for clarity: ‘I stand with Russell Brand, he’s completely innocent’.
The investigation by Channel 4, The Times and Sunday Times began four years ago. Around the same time he stepped back from much of his TV and movie work.
In that time his YouTube subscribers has gone from around 1million to 6million. His total video view could has gone from around 100million to over 1billion since 2019.
His net worth has been estimated between £15million and £40million – with YouTube experts claiming he makes $61,000-a-month from YouTube plus another $100k-a-month from merchandise and paid subscriptions to his podcast.
He lives with his wife Laura Gallacher in their £3million riverside home in Henley, Oxfordshire.
PR experts have said that this army of fans means that he will never be cancelled.
Mark Borkowski believes that the comedian, who has been accused of rape, sexual assault and emotional abuse by multiple women, has declared war on the mainstream media.
He said: ‘The crimes he’s been accused of are horrendous, and are damaging for him and for people were looking after him at the time’.
Russell Brand’s subscription and video views on YouTube have exploded since 2017
The PR guru says some of his fanbase will stay intact thanks to the ‘unfettered unregulated world of social media’ – and raises serious questions for the BBC and Channel 4.
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 that 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 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.
Mr Borkowski said: ‘It throws up questions against someone who has been allowed a certain amount of power because of his talent and his meteoric rise.
‘It questions Russell Brand but also those in governance in TV. There will be a lot of people looking at themselves this morning – those people in power today won’t be the same ones in power that presided over this.’
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.
Mr Borkowski added: ‘There’s a question whether he’s going to face police action, but the question at the moment is of social media – the man isn’t going to get a fair trial when the police have the evidence to prosecute him.
‘More people may come forward, other people might see an opportunity. It’s a very complex case, mixed between old media and social media’.
A joint investigation by The Times, Sunday Times and Channel 4’s Dispatches includes allegations Brand assaulted one of the women when she was a 16-year-old schoolgirl and another woman has claimed he raped her against a wall in his home in Los Angeles.
The Times reports several other women have since come forward with fresh claims about Brand.
One woman, using the fake name Lisa, told the paper the comedian had sung about the Soham killer Ian Huntley during a consensual sexual encounter in 2008.
She said: ‘He started talking about Ian Huntley, the paedophile and child killer, and mentioned it quite a few times, like in a joking way, but also made up a whole song about it.
‘I just couldn’t understand why you would be able to have sex and talk about a child killer at the same time.’
Another woman, known as Esme, told the Times Brand had been threatening and verbally abusive towards her when she refused to have sex with him.
In a now deleted YouTube video, Brand can be heard joking about raping a woman during a recording of Richard Herring’s Leicester Square Theatre Podcast in 2013.
Before the first allegations were published, Brand posted a video on Friday saying he has been ‘promiscuous’ but that all of his relationships have been ‘consensual’.
The BBC, Channel 4 and Banijay UK, which bought Endemol, the company commissioned by Channel 4 to produce the Big Brother spin-off shows Brand hosted, have all launched investigations into his behaviour while he was working on their programmes.
Downing Street urged the broadcasters to set out the results of their investigations into Brand ‘transparently’.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s official spokesman called the allegations ‘very serious and concerning’.
Channel 4 announced it has removed content featuring Brand from its streaming service while it looks into the claims and will remind production companies of its code of conduct.
It comes after Brand was accused of pursuing audience members for sex while presenting Big Brother spin-off shows EFourum and Big Brother’s Big Mouth on Channel 4.
Banijay UK, which bought Endemol in 2020, said it has launched an ‘urgent internal investigation’ and encouraged ‘anybody who feels that they were affected by Brand’s behaviour’ to come forward.
The BBC is facing questions after one of the women, who was 16 when she claims Brand began a relationship with her, alleged he used the corporation’s car service to pick her up from school to take her to his home.
Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour on Monday, the woman, known as Alice, said Brand’s denial was ‘laughable’ and ‘insulting’.
In 2020, the same woman contacted Brand’s literary agent at the time, who was also the co-founder of talent agency Tavistock Wood.
A spokesman for the agency said Brand ‘categorically and vehemently denied the allegations’ at the time but they now believe they were ‘horribly misled’ and have terminated all professional ties with the comedian.
Culture, Media and Sport Committee chairwoman Caroline Dinenage said the group will be looking for the same ‘reassurance’ from the BBC which has been provided by Channel 4.
In a statement, Brand’s publisher, Bluebird, said that ‘all future publishing’ with the comedian had been paused.
As Dispatches aired on Saturday Brand performed a sold out comedy gig at the Troubadour Wembley Park Theatre in north-west London as part of his Bipolarisation tour.
A spokesman for the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) said they do not have an open investigation into Brand, and another confirmed there have been no arrests following two allegations concerning claims that are said to have happened in the US.
The Met police said: ‘On Sunday September 17, the Met received a report of a sexual assault which was alleged to have taken place in Soho in central London in 2003.
‘Officers are in contact with the woman and will be providing her with support.
‘We first spoke with The Sunday Times on Saturday September 16 and have since made further approaches to The Sunday Times and Channel 4 to ensure that anyone who believes they have been the victim of a sexual offence is aware of how to report this to the police.’
The woman who has reported the alleged sexual assault had not spoken to The Sunday Times.