Downing Street has described the sexual assault allegations made against Russell Brand by four different women as “very serious and concerning”.
The 48-year-old comedian and actor has been accused of rape, assault and emotional abuse between 2006 and 2013, when he was at the height of his fame working for the BBC, Channel 4 and starring in Hollywood films.
Brand vehemently denies the allegations, which also include claims of controlling, abusive and predatory behaviour, and said, in a video posted online on Friday night, that all of his relationships have been “consensual”.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s official spokesman said: “These are very serious and concerning allegations.
“The Met Police has asked anyone who believes they have been a victim of a sexual assault to come forward to speak to officers.
“As the Foreign Secretary said over the weekend, people should feel able to raise concerns where they have them and know they will be treated seriously and treated with sensitivity.
“The Prime Minister has been clear there should never be any space for harassment, regardless of where it is found.”
The BBC, Channel 4 and Banijay UK, which bought Endemol, the company commissioned by Channel 4 to produce the Big Brother spin-off shows Brand hosted, have all launched investigations into Brand’s behaviour while he was working on their programmes.
Downing Street urged the BBC and Channel 4 to set out the results of their investigations into Brand “transparently”.
The No 10 spokesman said: “It’s right that this is looked into and I think both of the broadcasters have said they would investigate, and that is the right step.
“I’m not going to prejudge that, it will be for them to set out what they find and do so transparently.”
Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer is expected to be speak to broadcasters about their investigations into Brand at the next opportunity.
It was understood she will seek assurances that their investigations will be carried out thoroughly and transparently.
In recent years Brand has forged a new path as a wellness influencer and host of a YouTube show but Downing Street declined to urge broadcasters and streaming platforms such as YouTube and Netflix to take down his output.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “It’s a decision for all broadcasters to consider the right approach in light of these very serious allegations. They are deeply concerning, they need to be investigated.
“But I’m not going to dictate the actions of broadcasters or streaming services.”
The allegations, detailed in a joint investigation by the Times, Sunday Times and Channel 4’s Dispatches include one woman who says she was sexually assaulted during a three-month relationship with Brand when she was 16 and still at school.
Another woman has said she was raped against a wall at Brand’s home in Los Angeles.
In a video statement posted online ahead of the publication of the claims, Brand said he was facing 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.
As Dispatches aired on Saturday evening, Brand performed a sold-out comedy gig at the Troubadour Wembley Park Theatre in north-west London as part of his Russell Brand Bipolarisation tour.
He is scheduled to perform at three more venues in September, including a show at the Theatre Royal in Windsor on Tuesday, The Pavilions in Plymouth on Friday, and The Civic At The Halls in Wolverhampton next Thursday.
Published: by Radio NewsHub