Russell Brand investigation finds inappropriate behavior dismissed as “Russell being Russell”

A new report—centering on Brand's work in the mid-2000s—found TV producers all too ready to dismiss inappropriate behaviors as part of the comedian's brand

Russell Brand investigation finds inappropriate behavior dismissed as “Russell being Russell”
Russell Brand in 2020 Photo: Amy Sussman

A new investigation from ridiculously massive French entertainment producer Banijay, aimed at shows starring comedian and TV personality Russell Brand—specifically, those Brand-focused shows produced by its recent acquisition Endemol—has found that the production of multiple shows featured environments where inappropriate behavior on the star’s part were dismissed or ignored on the grounds of “Russell being Russell.”

News of the investigation—reported by Variety—comes as Brand is currently in the legal crosshairs, having been accused by multiple women of sexual assault. (Brand, who dropped out of normal media channels a few years back to become a sort of YouTube celebrity, has denied the charges against him.) Nothing in the Banijay report apparently rises to those levels, but they do paint a long line of inappropriate behaviors, including assigning runners on shows like Big Brother’s Big Mouth, Kings Of Comedy, and Big Brother’s Celebrity Hijack to question female audience members to get their phone numbers. The report, which states that Brand’s actions were not “adequately addressed” by producers at the time, also mentions “female crew members feeling uncomfortable or intimidated” by his behavior. “Brand was known to be very flirtatious with many of the women he worked with or came into contact with,” the report adds. “He would frequently wear just his underwear in his dressing room and would sometimes be naked in front of Endemol staff.”

The report notes that the shows in question, which aired between 2004 and 2008, lacked actionable ways for staffers to report incidents that made them feel uncomfortable or unsafe, or training on respectful behavior in the workplace. “There is evidence,” the report states, “To suggest that such behavior was tolerated as ‘Russell being Russell.’”

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