Russell Brand offered to take one of his assistants naked to disgraced presenter Jimmy Savile, in a clip that has resurfaced this weekend.
An audio of Brand speaking to Savile was played in a new Channel 4 Dispatches documentary last night (September 16) which has seen Brand accused of rape, sexual assault and emotional abuse. The documentary is part of a joint investigation with The Times and The Sunday Times which was published yesterday (September 16). Brand has strenuously denied the accusations.
The clip showed how Brand rang Savile in 2007 and was told they could meet if Brand brought a sister. On explaining he didn’t have a sister, Brand then offered to bring a female employee, agreeing, on Savile’s request, that she should be naked.
Brand said: “I haven’t got any sisters but I’ve got a personal assistant…and part of her job description is that anyone I demand she greets, meets, massages she has to do it. She’s very attractive Jimmy.”
Savile died in 2011 at the age of 84, before his crimes as a child sex abuser and sex offender came to light. More than 450 allegations were brought to the police following his death.
Brand had meanwhile already denied what he termed “very serious criminal allegations” in a video that was released on Friday evening (September 15). In the video, Brand insisted that his relationships have always been consensual.
The allegations against Brand relate to a seven year period “at the height of his fame” between 2006 and 2013 according to The Sunday Times and come from four women, one of whom was 16 at the time. At the time of the allegations, Brand was a presenter for BBC Radio 2 and Channel 4.
One of the women alleged that Brand raped her against a wall in his LA home and that she went on to be treated at a rape crisis centre the same day. Another alleged that Brand assaulted her when she was aged 16 during an emotionally abusive and controlling relationship.
A third woman claims that Brand sexually assaulted her in Los Angeles and later threatened to take legal action if she spoke about the allegation to anyone else. A fourth woman described being sexually assaulted by Brand and also claimed he was both physically and emotionally abusive towards her.
In his video statement ahead of the claims being published today, Brand said he “absolutely” denied the criminal allegations relating to his personal life, which he said were outlined in two “extremely disturbing letters” to him.
Brand said he received the letters from a “mainstream media TV company” and a newspaper which he said included a “litany of extremely egregious and aggressive attacks”.
“Amidst this litany of astonishing, rather baroque attacks are some very serious allegations that I absolutely refute,” he said.
“These allegations pertain to the time when I was working in the mainstream, when I was in the newspapers all the time, when I was in the movies, and as I have written about extensively in my books, I was very, very promiscuous.”
He continued: “Now during that time of promiscuity the relationships I had were absolutely, always consensual. I was always transparent about that then, almost too transparent, and I am being transparent about it now as well.
“To see that transparency metastasised into something criminal, that I absolutely deny, makes me question – is there another agenda at play?”
Brand added that he believed he was a part of a “coordinated attack”, likening it to the controversy in the media around Joe Rogan promoting ivermectin as a cure for COVID-19 (despite it not being endorsed as an effective treatment).
“I don’t mind them using my books and my stand-up to talk about my promiscuous consensual conduct in the past. What I seriously refute are these very, very serious criminal allegations.”
He went on to claim that he knew of witnesses whose evidence “directly contradicts the narrative that these two mainstream media outlets are trying to construct.”
“I feel like I’m being attacked, and clearly, they are working very closely together.”
Brand said he would to “look into” the matter, re-emphasising that he saw it as “very, very serious”.
In response to the joint investigation, a BBC spokesperson also commented. Brand’s time at the BBC ended in 2008 after he and presenter Jonathan Ross left a series of lewd answer phone messages for actor Andrew Sachs. In them, Brand claimed he had sex with the late-actor’s granddaughter. Brand and Radio 2’s controller quit, while Ross was suspended.
In a statement, the BBC told The Sunday Times: “Russell Brand worked for a number of different organisations, of which the BBC was one.
“As is well known, Russell Brand left the BBC after a serious editorial breach in 2008 – as did the then-controller of Radio 2. The circumstances of the breach were reviewed in detail at the time. We hope that demonstrates that the BBC takes issues seriously and is prepared to act.
“Indeed, the BBC has, over successive years, evolved its approach to how it manages talent and how it deals with complaints or issues raised.
“We will always listen to people if they come forward with any concerns, on any issue related to any individual working at the BBC, past or present.”
A spokesman for Channel 4 added: “Channel 4 is 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. We are determined to understand the full nature of what went on. We have carried out extensive document searches and have found no evidence to suggest the alleged incidents were brought to the attention of Channel 4.
“We will continue to review this in light of any further information we receive, including the accounts of those affected individuals. We will be asking the production company who produced the programmes for Channel 4 to investigate these allegations and report their findings properly and satisfactorily to us.”
NME has reached out to representatives of Brand, the BBC and Channel 4 for comment.