Comedian Russell Brand denies sexual assault allegations published by three British news agencies

LONDON (AP) — Three British news agencies reported Saturday that comedian and social influencer Russell Brand has been accused of…

LONDON — Three British news agencies reported Saturday that comedian and social influencer Russell Brand has been charged with rape, sexual assault and abuse based on allegations from four women who knew him for seven years, at height of his fame.

Brand denied the allegations and said all of his relationships were consensual.

The Sunday Times, The Times of London and Channel 4’s “Dispatches” said one woman claimed she was raped, while three others accused her of sexual assault. One of the women also said he had been physically and emotionally abusive.

The women said they only felt ready to tell their story after being approached by journalists, with some citing Brand’s newfound notoriety as an online wellness influencer as a factor in their decision to speak .

Before the articles were published, Brand posted a video online denying the allegations, which had been outlined in two “extremely disturbing letters” from a “mainstream” television company and a newspaper. He did not identify the news agencies by name.

“Amid this litany of astonishing, somewhat baroque attacks, there are very serious allegations that I absolutely refute,” he said. “These allegations relate to the time when I was working in the mainstream, when I was in newspapers all the time, when I “I was in movies and, as I’ve written a lot in my books, I was very, very promiscuous. “

“Now, during this period of promiscuity, the relationships I had were absolutely, always consensual,” he added. “I was always transparent about it then, almost too transparent, and I am now too.”

Brand also suggested that these reports were part of a coordinated attack to discredit him because of his views. Brand has been criticized for expressing skepticism about COVID-19 vaccines and interviewing controversial podcasters like Joe Rogan.

“Seeing this transparency metastasized into something criminal, which I absolutely deny, makes me wonder if there is another agenda at play,” Brand said.

Brand rose to fame as a stand-up comedian in Britain in the early 2000s, landing him starring roles on Channel 4 and later BBC Radio, where he capitalized on his reputation for outrageous behavior and risky jokes.

He then made the jump to Hollywood, appearing in films such as “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” in 2008 and the remake of “Arthur” in 2011. Brand was married to American pop star Katy Perry from 2010 to 2012.

In recent years, he has transformed himself into a political commentator and influencer, posting YouTube videos on topics such as personal freedom and the COVID-19 pandemic.

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