YouTube Demonetises Russell Brand's Channel Over Sexual Assault Allegations

The comedian said he 'absolutely' refutes allegations of rape and assault and decried what he called a 'coordinated attack.'
YouTube Demonetises Russell Brand's Channel Over Sexual Assault Allegations
Russell Brand leaves the Troubabour Wembley Park theatre in northwest London after performing a comedy set on Sept. 16, 2023. (James Manning/PA)
Lily Zhou

YouTube said it has suspended Russell Brand's channel from monetisation following reported rape and sexual assault allegations against the celebrity.

The Metropolitan Police also confirmed that it has received a report of sexual assault that allegedly happened in London in 2003.

The BBC and Channel 4 have removed some content featuring Mr. Brand and launched internal investigations into his conduct when he presented shows for the broadcasters.

Mr. Brand is a comedian, actor, TV presenter, and more recently a YouTuber whose main channel has over 6.6 million subscribers.

The flamboyant Hollywood star openly spoke of his alcohol and drug abuse and promiscuity in his comedy routines before reinventing himself to be a popular wellness influencer, political commentator, and an outspoken challenger of corporate media.

Over the weekend, The Times of London and The Sunday Times published a report, alongside a TV documentary by Channel 4's "Dispatches" programme, in which anonymous women accused Mr. Brand of sexual misconduct including rape, abuse, and grooming.

Hours before the materials were published, Mr. Brand posted a video on his YouTube channel denying any criminal allegations, and accusing the media outlets of launching a "coordinated" attack on him.

In a statement emailed to The Epoch Times on Tuesday, a spokesperson for YouTube said the video platform had demonetised Mr. Brand's channels "following serious allegations against the creator."

"We have suspended monetisation on Russell Brand’s channel for violating our Creator Responsibility policy," the spokesperson said. "If a creator’s off-platform behaviour harms our users, employees, or ecosystem, we take action to protect the community.”

YouTube clarified that the suspension applies to all channels that may be owned or operated by Mr. Brand. It also said the step is consistent with how the policy was previously applied to other channels whose owners were accused of sexual misconduct.

The Epoch Times has reached out to Mr. Brand for comment on how much the demonetisation will affect his income.

Sara McCorquodale, chief executive of social media analysis agency CORQ, told The Guardian Mr. Brand is "most likely making £2,000 to £4,000 per video, not taking into account any affiliate deals and brand sponsorships that might be running in the background."

It would "easily" mount to £1 million ($1.24 million) a year, the newspaper said, based on the assumption that he posts five videos per week.

 Russell Brand takes part in a discussion at Esquire Townhouse, Carlton House Terrace, in London, on Oct. 14, 2017. (Jeff Spicer/Getty Images)
Russell Brand takes part in a discussion at Esquire Townhouse, Carlton House Terrace, in London, on Oct. 14, 2017. (Jeff Spicer/Getty Images)

The Allegations

Mr. Brand has previously been celebrated in tabloids and entertainment shows for being a womaniser, winning the The Sun newspaper's "Shagger of the Year” title for three years in a row.

In new allegations over the weekend, several women, including one who was 16 at the time, said that initially consensual sexual relationships with Mr. Brand turned controlling or abusive and ended in assaults or rape.

One woman alleged Mr. Brand raped her at his Los Angeles home in 2012. According to the report, the woman went to a rape crisis centre, which alerted the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), but she decided against filing a police report thinking her words wouldn't "mean anything up against his.”

Another woman who worked for Mr. Brand alleged he almost raped her at his home in West Hollywood but let her go after she fought hard.

As of Monday, a spokesman for the LAPD said they didn't have any open investigations into the allegations against Mr. Brand, and another spokesman confirmed there had been no arrests following two alleged incidents in the United States.

A woman from the UK said she was 16 when she was chatted up by Mr. Brand, who was 30 at the time.

The woman, who was given the alias Alice, said their sexual relationship became abusive. She also alleged that Mr. Brand had coached her to lie to her parents.

In the UK, a 16-year-old can legally consent to sexual relationships. Alice now believes she's a victim of grooming and said the age of consent should be changed to 18.

Mr. Brand was also said to have told staff to get young female audience members phone numbers for him when he was a Channel 4 presenter.

Mr. Brand, whose YouTube channel features monologues about social and political matters, said he "absolutely refute[s]" the allegations.

In a video posted on YouTube on Sunday, Mr. Brand said he was "always transparent" about being promiscuous, but the sexual relationships he had "were absolutely always consensual."

He likened the allegations against him to "coordinated media attacks before like with Joe Rogan when he dared to take a medicine that the mainstream media didn't approve of," and said he felt like he was "being attacked."

 British comedian Russell Brand speaks to protesters following a march against the British government's spending cuts and austerity measures in London on June 20, 2015. (Justin Tallis/AFP via Getty Images)
British comedian Russell Brand speaks to protesters following a march against the British government's spending cuts and austerity measures in London on June 20, 2015. (Justin Tallis/AFP via Getty Images)


Channel 4 said it was "appalled" to find out about the "deeply troubling allegations" that allegedly happened on programmes made for the channel between 2004 and 2007, and it has began a internal review.

"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," a spokesman said.

"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.”

The BBC said on Tuesday that it had removed some content featuring Mr. Brand from its iPlayer and Sounds apps and appointed Director of Editorial Complaints Peter Johnston to lead the review into Mr. Brand’s time at the corporation between 2006 and 2008, according to BBC News.

"The BBC does not ban or remove content when it is a matter of public record, unless we have justification for doing so," a spokesman said.

“There is limited content featuring Russell Brand on iPlayer and Sounds. We’ve reviewed that content and made a considered decision to remove some of it, having assessed that it now falls below public expectations.”

BBC Director General Tim Davie told staff on Tuesday during a Q and A that the review will "look at the position regarding any cars used by the BBC at that time," referring to the allegation that Mr. Brand had used the BBC’s car service to pick up Alice from school.

A parliamentary committee has also intervened. Dame Caroline Dinenage, chairwoman of the Culture, Media, and Sport Committee, said the committee decided to "write to media outlets, including the BBC and Channel 4" on Tuesday to understand the actions they are taking.

The Met on Monday said it received a separate allegation.

The allegations that emerged over the weekend were about events alleged to have occurred between 2006 and 2013.

In a statement emailed to The Epoch times, a spokesperson for the Met said the force received a report on Sunday "of a sexual assault which was alleged to have taken place in Soho in central London in 2003."

"Officers are in contact with the woman and will be providing her with support," the statement reads.

The spokesperson said the Met had spoken with The Sunday Times and Channel 4 on Sunday "to ensure that anyone who believes they have been the victim of a sexual offence is aware of how to report this to the police."

PA Media contributed to this report.