The BBC and Channel 4 have been urged to “come clean” over what they knew and when about Russell Brand after accusations of rape and sexual abuse have surfaced against the comic.
Tory MP Caroline Nokes, who chairs Parliament’s women and equalities committee, said: “The BBC, Channel 4 and other companies that have employed Russell Brand need to come clean about what they knew and when, as celebrity and ‘value’ to a channel cannot be used to cover up abuse.”
Ms Nokes’s comments come as it emerged media chiefs could be summoned before MPs to face questions over what they knew about Brand’s behaviour.
The Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee has said it is closely monitoring the response of the BBC and Channel 4, which have both historic ties to Brand.
Ms Nokes told the BBC: “These allegations are incredibly shocking and criminal. I would very much hope that complaints will be made both to the Metropolitan Police and indeed in the States, because this merits and needs a criminal investigation.”
The BBC, Channel 4 and a production company have said they are “urgently” investigating after four women made separate allegations of sexual assault while Brand was a presenter on their programmes.
The comedian and actor, 48, has been accused of rape and sexual assaults between 2006 and 2013, when he was at the height of his fame and working for the BBC, Channel 4 and starring in Hollywood films. He strongly denies all claims.
The claims were made in a joint investigation by The Sunday Times, The Times and Channel 4’s Dispatches, and include allegations about Brand’s controlling, “abusive and predatory” behaviour.
Brand vehemently denies the allegations and said all of his relationships have been “consensual”, in a video posted online.
The BBC said it is “urgently looking into the issues raised” while Brand worked on BBC radio programmes between 2006 and 2008, while Channel 4 announced it is conducting “its own internal investigation” following the allegations.
A Channel 4 statement added: “We will be writing to all our current suppliers reminding them of their responsibilities under our Code of Conduct, as we are committed to ensuring our industry has safe, inclusive and professional working environments.”
Banijay UK, which bought Endemol in 2020, later announced it had launched an “urgent internal investigation” and encouraged “anybody who feels that they were affected by Brand’s behaviour” to come forward.
In a video statement posted online ahead of the publication of the claims, Brand said he was facing a “litany of extremely egregious and aggressive attacks”.
He said: “Amidst this litany of astonishing, rather baroque attacks are some very serious allegations that I absolutely refute.”
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