UK police open sexual offenses investigation after allegations about Russell Brand

LONDON (AP) — British police have opened a sex crimes investigation triggered by news reports about comedian Russell Brand.

London’s Metropolitan Police force said Monday that it had “received a number of allegations of sexual offences” after a television documentary and newspaper investigations. It said there have 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 offenses, 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,” said Detective Superintendent Andy Furphy of the Met’s Specialist Crime Command, who is leading the investigation.

Known for his unbridled and risqué standup routines, Brand was a major U.K. 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 briefly married to pop star Katy Perry between 2010 and 2012.

Brand has largely disappeared from mainstream media but has built up a large following online with videos mixing wellness and conspiracy theories.

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 canceled several scheduled live shows by Brand, and he has been dropped by his talent agency and a publisher since the allegations became public.

Brand still has a presence on Rumble, a video site popular with some conservatives and far-right groups, where his channel has 1.6 million followers. The site has been criticized for allowing— and at times promoting — disinformation and conspiracy theories.

Brand hosted a new broadcast on Rumble on Monday, saying the platform had made a “clear commitment to free speech.”

Copyright © 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

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