Russell Brand’s last major TV job in the UK reportedly ended with him being axed after being accused of being a “sexual predator” while the show was being recorded, a report suggests.
Deadline reported on Monday that Brand was booked as a judge on Comedy Central’s Roast Battle in 2018, but only lasted one season after being accused on-camera of sexually assaulting women.
Brand is currently facing numerous allegations of sexual assault highlighted in a joint investigation by The Sunday Times and Channel 4 Dispatches and denies criminal wrongdoing. Four women have accused Brand of sexual assaults between 2006 and 2013, one of whom was 16 at the time, and the Met Police has urged any alleged victims to contact them and have said it is investigating another allegation from 2003. The report has since led to further alleged victims coming forward.
Deadline reported, citing three sources close to the Fulwell 73 production, that Roast Battle judge Katherine Ryan turned the heat on Brand a number of times during filming, but her allegations did not make the final edit.
Brand is said to have demanded that producers protect him from being roasted by his fellow comedians, the publication said, but when the production company became uncomfortable with the rumours, and his reluctance to be roasted, they dropped him.
In November 2022, Ryan made headlines after telling Louis Theroux about an “open secret” in the TV industry. Speaking on his BBC interviews series, the comedian said she had “called him a predator to his face and in front of everyone that day.” She did not name the star or detail when and where she had made the accusation.
Deadline said it had confirmed with multiple sources that she was referring to Brand and Roast Battle.
The publication further suggested the incident on Roast Battle may have been a turning point in Brand’s career, given he did not appear on UK TV screens thereafter, expect for on The Great Celebrity Bake Off.
Fulwell 73 did not comment to Deadline, but Paramount said: “We are aware of the very serious allegations raised in the investigation by The Sunday Times, The Times and Dispatches. Russell Brand was a presenter on MTV at periods between 2000-2012 and was a panellist on Comedy Central UK’s Roast Battle in 2017.
“We are not currently aware of any reports of misconduct having been raised with MTV or Comedy Central, but if any are brought forward they will be investigated. The welfare of all those working on, or contributing to, our shows is our highest priority and today we have robust duty of care procedures in place on all programmes produced for us including confidential whistleblowing lines.”
In the documentary, one of Brand’s accusers alleged he raped her against a wall in his LA home and that she sought treatment at a rape crisis centre the same day. Another alleged he assaulted her when she was aged 16 during an emotionally abusive and controlling relationship. A third claims Brand sexually assaulted her in Los Angeles and later threatened to take legal action if she spoke about the allegation to anyone else. And a fourth described being sexually assaulted by Brand and also claimed he was both physically and emotionally abusive towards her.
In a statement on Friday ahead of the report, Brand said the allegations against him “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.”
He continued: “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?”
Brand has claimed that there is witnesses whose evidence “directly contradicts the narrative that these two mainstream media outlets are trying to construct.”
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