Production staff who worked with Russell Brand on a variety of TV shows have detailed how they were allegedly roped into finding him sex partners from the audiences of his programmes – while senior BBC staff reportedly knew he would have sex with competition winners in the building’s toilets.
An explosive Channel 4 Dispatches investigation, which aired on Saturday night, included claims of sexual assault or rape from several women between 2006 and 2013, including one who was 16 years old at the time.
In that time, Brand presented a number of studio-recorded TV programmes including 1 Leicester Square on MTV, Channel 4 shows Big Brother’s Efourum and Big Brother’s Big Mouth, as well as US chat show Brand X.
Staff told Dispatches how they were allegedly instructed to pass notes to members of the audience with either his phone number or the details of his hotel, later getting tearful phone calls from women who had slept with him and not heard from him.
Lesley Douglas, the controller of BBC Radio 2 at the time he presented a top-flight show on the station, reportedly knew of claims that Brand was having sex with competition winners at the toilets, and is alleged to have failed to act on them.
Russell Brand presenting the E4 Big Brother spin-off Efourum in 2004. Production staff claim runners were asked to get the phone numbers of audience members he was attracted to
Russell Brand presenting Big Brother’s Efourum in 2004. Production staff say he would regularly ask runners to get phone numbers for him – described by one worker as a practice akin to ‘leading lambs into slaughter’
A scene from 1 Leicester Square, a chat show Brand presented on MTV in 2006. His assistant at the time, Helen Berger, said Brand would pick out audience members and ask for numbers
Helen Berger, who worked for Brand between 2006 and 2007, said her perspective on Brand’s sex addiction changed when she recognised one of the women in a series of explicit photos that the comedian showed colleagues at the Edinburgh Festival
Russell Brand reportedly had sex with competition winners during his time at the BBC – a practice then-controller Lesley Douglas was reportedly aware of
Brand (pictured in 2008) said that during his ‘time of promiscuity, the relationships I had were absolutely always consensual’ and that he was ‘always transparent about that’
Brand has vehemently denied the claims made by people interviewed on the programme, labelling the allegations ‘baroque’.
But detailed allegations laid out by production staff and Brand’s own former personal assistant outline how the comedian would reportedly ask runners to get phone numbers of audience members – a practice one compared to ‘taking lambs to slaughter’.
Staff who worked with Brand on Big Brother’s Efourum – a spin-off programme that saw fans of the reality show discuss that day’s events – said they were sent to universities to find audience members.
Brand, they claimed, would ask runners to get the phone numbers of those that he liked.
One said: ‘Russell’s pointing out women that he found attractive in the audience, then getting the runners to get their details so that they could meet up after the show.
‘I distinctly remember getting phone calls from women in tears the next day saying they’d met up with Russell.
‘They were mainly upset because they just felt used – “He promised he’d call me, he said he’d speak to me again, and I’ve not heard from him.”
‘That said, I don’t know what went on once they left the studio. ‘It was like we were taking lambs into slaughter. We were basically acting like pimps to Russell Brand’s needs.
‘It was really horrible to listen to these women being so distressed and upset, it just didn’t feel right.’
Another added: ‘He would give a runner a piece of paper and it would be a phone number or where to find him in his hotel room.
‘They would give that out to at least two, three girls in the audience, and I say girls because they were all over 18 but all under 22.’
Rachel, a production runner working on the Big Brother spin-off programme who alleges that Brand groomed her for sex, said that programme bosses knowingly asked female staff to deliver bad news to him.
On one occasion, she alleged that Brand exposed himself to her in his dressing room – but she kept the incident to herself, fearing she would be sacked.
She said: ‘He saw it was me and turned around towards me. I could see he had his penis out of his shorts or trousers and it was in his hand and he insinuated that I might like to ‘suck his d***’.
‘I obviously didn’t but I was scared to rock the boat. I was very anxious. I was scared of what the repercussions would be if someone found out.
‘I didn’t want to tell anyone what he had done because I didn’t want to lose my job.’
Rachel, who was 24 at the time, added that the pair went on to have sex – allegedly breach of his contract, which is said to have included a clause explicitly banning sexual contact with other people on the programme.
Brand alluded to this in his autobiography, writing that his management had to sign a contract confirming he would be ‘no trouble’.
Rachel, who worked as a production runner on the Big Brother spin-off presented by Brand, alleged that he exposed himself to her and propositioned her. She did not tell bosses – fearing that she would lose her job
Staff on the Big Brother spin-offs alleged that they got tearful phone calls from women who had been picked out by Brand for sex after recordings
Phoebe, who has accused Brand of sexual assault, said it was ‘mayhem’ in the dressing room of his US show as he would regularly take women in for sex
Brand later hosted chat show Brand X in the United States – Phoebe said that he would regularly bring ‘five-plus’ women back to his dressing room each day
Endemol, which produced the Big Brother spin-off, and Channel 4 both denied that there was a clause in Brand’s contract banning sexual contact with staff.
Banijay, which owns Endemol, said: ‘We take our duty of care to our cast, crew and staff extremely seriously. While Endemol did have a conduct of conduct, support policies and escalation procedures in place during the period in question, they were not as robust as our current processes.
‘We are sorry these women did not feel supported and protected and in light of these serious allegations encourage them to contact us in confidence.’
Channel 4 said: ‘We are appalled to learn of these deeply troubling allegations on programmes between 2004 and 2007.
‘We have carried out extensive document searches and have found no evidence to suggest the alleged incidents were brought to the attention of Channel 4. We will continue to review this in light of any further information we receive.
‘We will be asking the production company who produced the programme to investigate these allegations and report their findings. Today, Channel 4 has a zero-tolerance approach to unacceptable behaviour and a robust Code of Conduct requires all suppliers to have in place rigorous safeguarding policies and provide whistleblowing support including Channel 4’s Speak Up facility.
‘To the best of our knowledge (Brand’s) contract contained no such clause.’
Helen Berger, Russell Brand’s personal assistant from 2006-2007, said she first knew of Russell Brand when Bob Geldof labelled him a ‘c***’ at the NME Awards.
At that time, Brand was upfront about his sex addiction – something Ms Berger said she was aware of, telling Dispatches: ‘It was non-stop, not to mention a very active sex addiction.
‘He could not stop sleeping with women but he was never satisfied and never happy.
‘He were at his TV show, 1 Leicester Square, and he was walking this way and that way, and he would say, “can you get me their numbers?’. They were members of the audience, on his show.
‘I saw a lot of things that if I were to walk into it now I would say “that’s not right” but back then, everything was so normalised.’
Russell Brand wrote in his autobiographies that he was forbidden from having sexual relations with Big Brother show staff, and that Radio 2 controller Lesley Douglas was ‘incredibly tolerant’ of his behaviour at the BBC, including having sex in the toilets with competition winners
Brand returned to front Big Brother’s Big Mouth after undergoing treatment for sex addiction
Helen Berger, who worked as Russell Brand’s assistant in the mid-2000s. She recalled: ‘He were at his TV show, 1 Leicester Square, and he was walking this way and that way, and he would say, “can you get me their numbers?”‘
Ms Berger said her views changed on Brand when the comedian began showing people explicit photos he had been sent by women while at the Edinburgh Festival, and she recognised one of the women in the pictures.
She added: ‘It did something to me. It made me feel really sick to my stomach.
‘These are women who aren’t expecting to be shown to the dude’s friends. I felt terrible for these people, these women. I felt shame in that moment.’
Asked if she ever worried about a lack of consent, Ms Berger said: ‘I never worried. I saw a lot of women knowing who he was. I never thought of him as someone who would rape anybody.’
In 2012, left the UK, Brand presented a chat show, Brand X, on US station FX, where he gave a job to Phoebe, one of the women who has accused Brand of sexual assault.
The pair met at an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, and went on to have sex, before Brand offered her a role in his team.
In this time, she said, she saw Brand taking audience members from his FX show, Brand X, back to his dressing room for sex.
She told Dispatches: ‘He took me on and it went really well. He had me on for a long period.
‘We did a lot of stuff together. He’d have a comedy show and would invite a bunch of us and my friends would come. It became what felt like a friendship.
‘Everything workwise revolved around his sexual behaviour with other people. And because I had slept with him, it was like it didn’t hurt, but it hurt.
‘I’ve never seen any man have power and manipulation over women.
‘I watched this guy, pulled women out of the audience, kicking us out of the dressing room, f****** them in the dressing room, just a revolving door of women every day, five-plus women a day, absolute mayhem.’
In 2007 – a year in which he appeared in St Trinian’s and wrote autobiography My Booky Wook – Brand also began presenting a show on Saturday nights on BBC Radio 2 alongside radio DJ Matt Morgan.
The BBC hailed Brand as ‘the most exciting comedian of his generation’ in marketing materials released at the time of the announcement.
But in his second autobiography, Booky Wook 2, Brand hinted that he had been having sex with competition winners in the toilets while presenting the show.
Lesley Douglas, the controller of BBC Radio 2 at the time that Brand presented a nighttime show on Saturdays. She and Brand both quit the station after the ‘Sachsgate’ scandal
Brand has lashed out at ‘aggressive’ media claims as he insisted any relationships he had ‘during his time of promiscuity’ were ‘consensual’ (pictured in June 2010)
The comedian, actor and internet personality told his millions of followers on Friday that there are ‘very, very serious criminal allegations’ made against him which he ‘absolutely refutes’
Lesley Douglas, the controller of Radio 2 at the time, was ‘incredibly tolerant’ of his behaviour, he wrote. Dispatches claimed that Ms Douglas was aware of complaints about his behaviour.
On one occasion, Brand exposed himself on air and urinated into a bottle, in front of people reportedly to include a child.
And in a phone call with Jimmy Savile – before he was exposed as a prolific predatory paedophile – Brand offered up his assistant, naked.
He said on air: ‘Anyone I demand she meets, greets, massages, she has to do it. She’s very attractive, Jimmy.’
Savile replied: ‘She can do research. I’d prefer her to wear nothing.’
Brand and Ms Douglas both left the BBC following ‘Sachsgate’ – in which Brand and Jonathan Ross had left a lewd voicemail on the answering machine of Fawlty Towers star Andrew Sachs in which they detailed the comedian’s sexual relationship with Sachs’ granddaughter, Georgina Baillie.
Matt Morgan, Russell Brand’s Radio 2 co-presenter, said: ‘I stopped working with Russell Brand several years ago. During the time I worked with him, I was never aware of any allegations of serious sexual misconduct against him.
‘I absolutely condemn all forms of mistreatment of women. Looking back on the time I spent working on radio at the BBC, I am regretful to learn that a show I was part of made colleagues uncomfortable at times.’
A representative for Lesley Douglas said: ‘Ms Douglas did not at any time encourage, enable and/or fail herself to take any adequate steps within her power with regard to the conduct of Russell Brand of which she was aware.
‘She is presently unable to provide any further information which may be relevant to the matters raised in this article due to the obligations owed by her to her former employer.’
The BBC said: ‘Russell Brand left the BBC after a serious editorial breach – as did the controller of Radio 2 at the time. The BBC reviewed what happened…we hope that demonstrates that the BBC takes issues seriously and is prepared to act.
‘Over successive years, (the BBC has) evolved its approach to how it manages talent and how it deals with complaints or issues raised. We have clear expectations around conduct at work, these are set out in employment contracts, the BBC Values, the Code of Conduct and the Anti-Bullying and Harassment Policy.’
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.
Source: | This article originally belongs to Dailymail.co.uk