British police have opened a sex crimes investigation triggered by news reports about comedian Russell Brand.
London’s Metropolitan Police force said on Monday (local time) that it had “received a number of allegations of sexual offences” after a television documentary and newspaper investigations.
Police said there had been no arrests.
Brand, 48, denies allegations of sexual assault made by four women in a Channel 4 television documentary and The Times and Sunday Times newspapers.
The accusers, who have not been named, include one who said she was sexually assaulted during a relationship with him when she was 16.
Another woman says Brand raped her in Los Angeles in 2012.
The police force did not name Brand in its statement but referred to the recent articles and documentary.
It said detectives were investigating allegations of “non-recent” sexual offences, both in London and elsewhere.
“We continue to encourage anyone who believes they may have been a victim of a sexual offence, no matter how long ago it was, to contact us,” Detective Superintendent Andy Furphy of the Met’s Specialist Crime Command said.
Furphy is leading the investigation.
Known for his unbridled and risqué standup routines, Brand was a major British star in the early 2000s.
He hosted shows on radio and television, wrote memoirs charting his battles with drugs and alcohol, appeared in several Hollywood movies and was married to pop star Katy Perry from 2010 to 2012.
Brand has largely disappeared from mainstream media but has built up a large following online with videos mixing wellness and anti-establishment messages.
Last week YouTube said it would stop Brand from making money from the streaming site, where he has 6.6 million subscribers, due to the “serious allegations” against him.
Promoters also cancelled several scheduled live shows by Brand and he has been dropped by his talent agency and a publisher since the allegations became public.
Brand accused “big tech”, the British government and mainstream media of trying to shut down independent voices when he started his regular broadcast on Monday on the online video site Rumble, where he has 1.6 million followers.
“I now, in particular, have a new experience on the way that the media and the state can co-operate and corroborate one another’s narratives and stories,” he said, although he made no direct reference to the assault allegations.
“I am beginning to sense that if you publicly question important stories that are agenda-led like, for example, the war in Ukraine or the response to the COVID pandemic then it appears there is some significant heft behind controlling those narrative spaces.”
Canadian-based platform Rumble has rejected calls from British parliamentarians, among others, to stop Brand, who has starred in a number of films such as Get Him to the Greek, from making money from the site.
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