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Russell Brand blocked from making money on YouTube following sexual allegations

YouTube has blocked Russell Brand from making money from advertising on the online video platform in response to allegations of rape, sexual assault and abuse against the British comedian and actor.

YouTube said it had “suspended monetisation” for Brand’s channels, which have more than 6.6mn subscribers. The channels remain available to be viewed.

Brand used his main YouTube channel @RussellBrand, as well as social media platforms Instagram and X, formerly known as Twitter, on Friday to deny the claims. He said that his relationships were “always consensual”.

Broadcasters such as Channel 4 have taken down shows that have featured or been hosted by the comedian since The Sunday Times and Channel 4 made the allegations on Saturday that Brand committed rape, sexual assault and sexual and emotional abuse between 2006 and 2013.

At the time, Brand was starring in shows on the BBC and Channel 4, and appearing in Hollywood films.

The BBC said on Tuesday it had removed some content from its iPlayer and Sounds platforms “having assessed that it now falls below public expectations” although some programmes, such as a 2013 appearance on Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs, are still online.

Tim Davie, BBC director-general, has announced an internal review of Brand’s conduct when he worked on BBC 6 Music and Radio 2 between 2006 and 2008, as well as when he was a guest on BBC shows.

Davie told a staff meeting on Tuesday that a review led by Peter Johnston, the BBC’s director of editorial complaints and reviews, would “look at any complaints made about Russell Brand’s conduct during his time, what was known at the time, what was done”.

Davie confirmed the review would look into “the position regarding any cars used by the BBC at that time” after one of Brand’s accusers, a woman known as Alice, claimed a chauffeur-driven car provided by the corporation took her to the comedian’s house when he was in his thirties and she was a 16-year-old schoolgirl.

Davie added that he wanted the results “in weeks, not months”. The BBC has been under pressure to reveal if any complaints were made against Brand over the period.

The director-general, culture secretary Lucy Frazer and Channel 4 boss Alex Mahon are set to be quizzed about the allegations against Brand at the Royal Television Society’s annual media conference in Cambridge on Wednesday.

YouTube said its action was consistent with how it had applied its policy in the past, citing decisions to demonetise YouTubers James Charles and David Dobrik following sexual misconduct allegations.

“If a creator’s off-platform behaviour harms our users, employees or ecosystem, we take action to protect the community,” the company said.

Media experts say much of the comedian’s income is likely to be from the YouTube channels, where he has been posting videos positioning himself as a wellness and health guru, as well as a commentator on global politics and the media.

Other commercial partners have also cut ties with him, including his publisher Bluebird, an imprint of Pan Macmillan, which was due to bring out a book in December, and the Curtis Brown-owned talent agency Tavistock Wood.

Brand’s live tour dates have been postponed by the promoter after his last appearance at Wembley Park Theatre in London on Saturday night, which began after the allegations were reported by The Sunday Times and Channel 4.

The Metropolitan Police said on Monday it had received a report of an alleged sexual assault in 2003 following the allegations of sexual offences.

Other TV companies that employed Brand as a presenter or guest have launched investigations into his conduct.

Brand worked on spin-off Big Brother shows produced by Endemol, which was acquired by Banijay UK in 2020. In response to “very serious allegations . . . relating to the alleged serious misconduct of Russell Brand while presenting shows produced by Endemol in 2004 and 2005”, Banijay said it had “launched an urgent internal investigation and will co-operate with any requests for information”.

Channel 4 said it was “appalled to learn of these deeply troubling allegations including behaviour alleged to have taken place on programmes made for Channel 4 between 2004 and 2007”. The broadcaster has taken down content featuring Brand, such as episodes of The Great British Bake Off.


Business Asia
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