First look at Russell Brand’s time at Channel 4 finds ‘no reports’ to bosses
Charlotte McLaughlin, PA Senior Entertainment Reporter
The boss of Channel 4 says the broadcaster has “carried out extensive document searches and thus far have found no evidence to suggest the alleged incidents” about Russell Brand were reported to management.
The comedian and actor, 48, is facing allegations of rape, emotional abuse and sexual assault.
Channel 4 has launched an investigation into his time at the channel after he was accused of pursuing audience members for sex while presenting the broadcaster’s Big Brother spin-off shows EFourum and Big Brother’s Big Mouth.
Brand has strongly denied the allegations, in a video posted online on Friday, saying he has been “promiscuous” but that all of his relationships have been “consensual”.
Culture, Media and Sport Committee chairwoman Dame Caroline Dinenage wrote to broadcasters on Tuesday, including Channel 4, to request further details on what actions they are taking in response to the allegations.
Dame Caroline asked for the broadcaster to set out the time for completion of the investigation and urged it to “disclose” the information that can be made public.
In a letter to the commons committee on Monday, and published on Tuesday online, Channel 4 chief executive Alex Mahon said: “Since becoming aware of some of the allegations, just over a week ago, we have carried out extensive document searches and thus far have found no evidence to suggest the alleged incidents were brought to the attention of Channel 4 management at the time.
“We will continue to look at this issue and will forensically examine any further information, including the accounts of those affected.”
A joint investigation by The Times, Sunday Times and Channel 4’s Dispatches, which also include claims of controlling, abusive and predatory behaviour, was published at the weekend and covers Brand’s time at the height of his fame when he worked at the BBC, Channel 4 and starred in Hollywood films.
A researcher claimed concerns about Brand’s behaviour were reported to production managers at Endemol, the company commissioned by Channel 4 to produce the programmes in 2004 and 2005, but were dismissed.
Another probe is being conducted by Banijay UK, which bought Endemol, the company commissioned by Channel 4 to produce the Big Brother spin-off shows the presenter hosted, into his behaviour while he was working on its programmes.
Ms Mahon said: “We have asked the production company… to urgently and comprehensively investigate these allegations and report their findings properly and satisfactorily to us, which they have agreed to do.
“We are also conducting our own further internal investigations and we have encouraged anyone who is aware of such behaviour to contact us directly.”
She added that since the alleged incidents took place, there is “a zero-tolerance approach to unacceptable behaviour” and a “robust code of conduct”.
“We will be writing to all of our current suppliers to remind them of the importance of their responsibilities under our code of conduct,” she added.
“We are committed to ensuring that our industry has safe, inclusive and professional working environments.”
The BBC has announced a review into Brand’s time at BBC Radio 2 and BBC Radio 6 Music between 2006 and 2008 which the corporation’s director-general Tim Davie said will have an “initial report in weeks, not months”.
During a long-arranged session with BBC staff on Tuesday, Mr Davie said the probe will be led by the BBC’s director of editorial complaints Peter Johnston.