UK police receive assault allegation after Brand claims


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London police have received a claim of sexual assault following allegations against comedian Russell Brand, as more women come forward with their stories.

Without naming the British actor, the Metropolitan Police said they were investigating an assault alleged to have taken place in Soho in 2003.

This claim predates the list of accusations from four women whose stories were revealed at the weekend in a joint media investigation by the Sunday Times, The Times and Channel 4’s Dispatches.

There was no immediate comment from Brand’s representatives following the police statement.

Four women have accused Brand of sexual assaults, including a rape, between 2006 and 2013 which he has denied, saying all his relationships have been consensual.

London police said since those allegations were published and broadcast they had received one report of an assault alleged to have taken place in Soho, central London, 20 years ago.

“Officers are in contact with the woman and will be providing her with support,” the Metropolitan Police statement said.

“We first spoke with The Sunday Times on Saturday, 16 September 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.”

Meanwhile Brand is facing further public claims after more women came forward with allegations, it has been reported.

“Several women” are said to have contacted the two newspapers, and  The Times said their stories would be investigated and “rigorously checked”.

Earlier, one of Brand’s original accusers, Alice, said his vehement response to the allegations was “insulting”.

Alice said a BBC car would collect her from school when she was 16 (which is the legal age in the UK) and take her to Brand’s house.

She claims she was sexually assaulted during a three-month relationship with him and described his behaviour towards her as “grooming”.

He would allegedly provide her with scripts on how to deceive her parents into allowing her to visit him.

The BBC is also facing questions after it was alleged that he used the corporation’s car service to pick up the then 16-year-old.

The broadcaster previously said it was “urgently looking into the issues raised” while Brand worked on BBC radio programmes between 2006 and 2008.

Brand, the former husband of US singer Katy Perry, issued a video message on social media hours before the original allegations were published on Sunday (AEDT).

“As I’ve written about extensively in my books, I was very, very promiscuous,” he said in the clip.

“Now, 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’m being transparent about it now as well.

“And to see that transparency metastasised into something criminal that I absolutely deny makes me question, is there another agenda at play?”

The news about Brand, once one of the country’s most high-profile comedians and broadcasters who is currently in the middle of a stand-up tour, is dominating media in the United Kingdom.

Brand was in the middle of a stand-up tour and was due to perform at the Theatre Royal Windsor on Tuesday (local time) but this has now been cancelled.

“We are postponing these few remaining addiction charity fundraiser shows, we don’t like doing it — but we know you’ll understand,” a statement from his tour promoters, shared by the theatre, said.

The BBC, on whose radio programmes he worked between 2006 and 2008, said it was urgently looking into issues raised by the allegations.

Banijay UK, the production company behind a television show once hosted by Brand, said it had too launched an urgent internal investigation.

Brand has been accused of pursuing audience members for sex while presenting Big Brother spin-off shows EFourum and Big Brother’s Big Mouth on Channel 4.

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.

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak described the allegations as “very serious and concerning”.

“The Met Police has asked anyone who believes they have been victim of a sexual assault to come forward and speak to officers,” said Sunak.

Questions are now being asked about whether TV chiefs were aware of any concerns about Brand’s behaviour while working on their programmes.

The chairwoman of the Commons Women and Equalities Committee has said she feels a criminal probe should look into the sexual assault allegations against Brand.

Caroline Nokes told BBC Radio 4’s Today program said: “for too long we have seen men…not being held to account”.

“Unfortunately it seems that celebrity, for whatever reason, can act as a shield for individuals.”

As Dispatches aired on Saturday evening, Brand performed a sold-out comedy gig at the Troubadour Wembley Park Theatre in north-west London as part of his Russell Brand Bipolarisation tour.

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