Although Russell Brand vehemently denies accusations of rape from four women published by The Times and Channel 4 this past weekend, he can’t outrun the fact that his unsavory character seems to have been an open secret among insider circles for years.
Per a new report from Deadline, Brand (who did not respond to the outlet’s requests for comment) was dropped from his position as a judge on Comedy Central’s Roast Battle, his last major U.K. television job, over multiple, on-camera accusations of him being a “sexual predator.” This was back in 2018, per the outlet, who spoke to multiple anonymous sources close to the production.
The allegations, per Deadline’s reporting, came from fellow judge and comedian Katherine Ryan but never made it to the final cut of the series. Ryan previously spoke about the incident on the BBC series Louis Theroux Interviews..., saying, “I—in front of loads of people, in the format of the show—said to this person’s face that they are a predator.” While Ryan didn’t name Brand or Roast Battle at the time (she said it would be a “litigious minefield” because she had not been personally assaulted by Brand), Deadline has confirmed that the comedian was indeed her subject in light of the Times report.
Brand was “absolutely furious” at the comments and asked producers to protect him from being roasted by his fellow judges (mutual roasting, of course, being the point of the show). The show’s production company, Fulwell 73, allegedly became increasingly uncomfortable with the rumors and Brand’s reputation, and used his reluctance to participate in the show’s concept as an excuse to fire him after only one season. Brand has all but disappeared from the small screen in the years since, instead re-styling himself as an “alternative media broadcaster” and lifestyle guru.
Unfortunately, all of these accusations don’t seem to have deterred Brand’s biggest supporters. The comedian received a standing ovation at a Wembley gig Saturday night after the report was released. Elon Musk also weighed in, posting “I support Russell Brand. That man is not evil.” on X Sunday morning.