Russell Brand was reportedly dropped from Comedy Central’s Roast Battle after being accused of being a “sexual predator” during recording.
The news comes after a joint investigation by The Times, The Sunday Times and Channel 4’s Dispatches, in which four women accused the comedian of rape and sexual assault over a period between 2006 and 2013. Brand has denied the allegations.
According to a new report by Deadline, Brand was dropped as a judge on Roast Battle after one series back in 2018 after he was repeatedly accused on camera of sexually assaulting women, reportedly by fellow judge Katherine Ryan.
Her allegations were not included in the final edit, and Brand was reportedly angry at being targeted. Production company Fulwell 73 reportedly grew uncomfortable with the rumours around the comedian, with his reluctance to be roasted giving them an opportunity to drop him.
Ryan said last year that she confronted an unnamed but prominent TV personality about being a “perpetrator of sexual assault” during the filming of a TV show, though her remarks were cut from the broadcast.
“It’s a litigious minefield because lots of people have tried to nail this person down for their alleged crimes and this person has very good lawyers, so am I going to put my mortgage on the line by saying who this person is or entering into any conversations like that?” she told broadcaster Louis Theroux. “We’ve seen what happens to people who talk about alleged predators.
“It’s not really my story to tell. No one has perpetrated any sexual assault against me, but this person, I believe very strongly – many people believe very strongly – is an open secret, is a perpetrator of sexual assault,” Ryan added.
Among the accusations against Brand is a woman who alleges he raped her in his Los Angeles home, and she was treated at a rape crisis centre on the same day. A second woman claims Brand assaulted her when she was 16 in an emotionally abusive relationship.
A third woman claims he sexually assaulted her in LA, and that he threatened legal action if she spoke out, while a fourth woman said she was also sexually assaulted by the comedian, and that he was physically and emotionally abusive.
Before the reports were released, Brand released a video denying “very serious criminal allegations”, and said that all his relationships were consensual.
“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.
“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?”
This is happening pic.twitter.com/N8zIKLbJN2
— Russell Brand (@rustyrockets) September 15, 2023
Since the reports emerged on Saturday (September 16), allegations from more women have emerged, with The Times saying they have not been investigated yet, though will be “rigorously checked”.
Both Channel 4 and the BBC have opened investigations into Brand, and the Metropolitan Police have requested information from The Times and Channel 4 investigation regarding any alleged offences, and have urged any victims to come forward.
Women’s charity Trevi Women and literacy agency Tavistock Wood have also cut ties with Brand, while Channel 4 have also removed all content featuring Brand from their streaming service.
NME has reached out to Brand, Ryan and production company Fulwell73.