British politicians urge police to investigate sexual assault allegations against Russell Brand
British politicians are calling on police to investigate allegations of sexual assault against actor and comedian Russell Brand that media reported this past weekend following a years-long investigation.
Several leading politicians in Britain are responding to these allegations, which were made by four women in a Channel 4 television documentary, as well as The Times and the Sunday Times newspapers. None of the alleged victims was named. Brand has responded to the allegations and vehemently rejected the claims, saying all of his relationships were “always consensual.”
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s spokesperson, Max Blain, on Monday called the allegations “very serious and concerning.” He said those making allegations should be “treated seriously and treated with sensitivity.”
Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said Sunday that Brand has questions to answer following the allegations.
“We have to be particularly careful when we listen to the voices of the people who are relatively powerless. Because we, I think, collectively have missed opportunities to do the right thing and intervene much, much earlier,” Cleverly told the BBC.
Caroline Nokes, a conservative legislator who chairs the House of Commons Women and Equalities Committee, called the allegations “incredibly shocking and criminal” and called on law enforcement to investigate, both in the U.K. and in the United States.
“This merits and needs a criminal investigation because for too long we have seen men — and the perpetrators of these sorts of crimes are almost invariably men — not being held to account for their behaviors and their actions,” she told BBC radio.
“Unfortunately, it seems that celebrity, for whatever reason, can act as a shield for individuals who choose to conduct themselves in a way which – to be quite frank, if that were to happen in any business organization — you’d like to think that they’d be out the door,” Nokes continued.
Laura Trott, the pensions minister, also said she hoped the women who spoke to the news outlets would speak to officers and said in an interview, The Guardian reported, “I think everybody needs to do better. I think no woman reading the allegations that were all over the place this weekend could do anything other than shudder. It’s horrific.”
“And I pay absolute tribute to the women who’ve come forward and also the journalists that have pursued this, the editors who’ve allowed them to do that, the investment that’s been put in place and the huge legal risk that’s taken for stories such as these,” Trott added. “We all need to do better. And I would just plead any woman who’s had experiences like this to come forward and to report them to the police.”
One of Brand’s accusers says he raped her in Los Angeles in 2012, according to the Sunday Times, The Times of London and Channel 4. The actor and comedian has been accused of sexual assault by three other women, one of whom says she was sexually assaulted by Brand during a relationship with him when she was 16. One of the women also said he had been physically and emotionally abusive.
London’s Metropolitan Police said after the allegations were made public, officers received a report of a sexual assault in London that allegedly took place in 2003, which is three years before the earliest assault that media had reported. Police said officers were “in contact with the woman” and providing her support.
While the police did not identify Brand by name, they referred to the public allegations and urged “anyone who believes they may have been a victim of a sexual offence, no matter how long ago it was, to contact us.”
Following the allegations, Brand was dropped by his talent agency, Tavistock Wood. His publisher, Bluebird, also said it would “pause” publishing with Brand in the future.
The Associated Press contributed.
— Updated at 1:01 p.m.