The repercussions of the serious sexual abuse allegations against comedian Russell Brand continue to be felt, days after The Sunday Times published an expose and Channel 4 aired a special Dispatches programme.
The allegations, which Brand “absolutely refute(s)”, date back to a time in the early and mid-noughties, when the now 48-year-old was at the height of his career. The allegations were made public on Saturday (16 September), the day after Brand himself posted a video to his social media accounts in which he accused the mainstream media of orchestrating a “coordinated” attack against him, denied 'very serious allegations' and said all of his relationships had been “consensual”.
Now, numerous comedians have spoken out against Brand, supporting the claim of one victim - who’s been given the pseudonym ‘Alice’ - who said his alleged abuse is “the biggest open secret going”. But, there’s also one who disagrees and has given Brand her backing.
Since all the comedians mentioned in this article made their comments online, the Metropolitan Police has confirmed it received a report of an alleged sexual assault following the allegations against Brand.
But, just who has spoken out against Brand, what have they said, and who has spoken in support of him? Here’s what you need to know.
Which comedians have spoken out against Russell Brand?
Various performers have now spoken out against Brand. The first to do so was Daniel Sloss, a 33-year-old comedian, writer and actor.
During the Dispatches documentary, called “Russell Brand: In Plain Sight”, the investigation team said they had spoken to “hundreds of sources who knew or worked with Brand”, including “comedians and other celebrities” about his conduct and reputation, but Sloss was the only one willing to speak on record. However, many other comedians have now come forward and made their views known. Others have spoken out on their social media platforms, including London Hughes and Adam Rowe.
What did Daniel Sloss say about Russell Brand?
In the documentary, Sloss revealed female comedians had a WhatsApp group in which they warned each other of people on the circuit they had uncomfortable experiences with. Discussing the WhatsApp group, he said: “I know for many many years women have been warning each other about Russell.”
He added: “There were many stories. It wasn’t just coming from one person or one group of people. It was different incidents over different years and of varying degrees of severity.
“He was a big name, big, big household name. If you were a comedian and got to gig with him you'd be gigging with a celebrity. I'm stood in bars with agents, promoters, channel commissioners and I'm hearing these allegations and rumours with Russell in the same room, and later on he would be on a movie, on a television show, he would be hosting something. He was still being employed.”
He added some comedians had included reference to Brand’s alleged crimes in their jokes, but they have been “asked or told” to not do those jokes. He said: “Hearing that is intimidating, it’s scary. You don’t know where these people are coming from and how high up it goes. Questions that should have been asked about Russell before he was employed for certain things, I do not believe they were asked. You do look at people who are in high positions and authority in this industry and think to yourself, ‘Well, there is more you could have done’.”
What did London Hughes say about Russell Brand?
In a thread on her X account, comedian, writer and presenter Hughes, now 34, said she was warned to stay away from Brand, who was at that time a self-confessed sex addict, over a decade ago.
She said: “I was newly signed with Russell’s agent at the height of his career, I was a HUGE fan of the man… So excited to meet him! But, [on] my first day at the agency, I was told unprovoked that I shouldn’t sleep with him under any circumstances, as he likes to pursue women, have sex with them."
She went on: “But as soon as he had sex with them, they’d made him feel sick and he didn’t want to be around them anymore, so he would have them fired, or dropped from the agency… it had happened several times in the past. I was 22 at the time, did what I was told and completely avoided him. This is not some cheeky misunderstood man. I am not shocked by the documentary at all, I believe everything those brave women said.”
Responding to a question from an X user asking if she was aware of Brand’s behaviour, she said: “There’s not a single comedian in the UK that wasn’t aware of his behaviour. We’ve all heard the rumours…"
She went on to say she 'always had the understanding that he was, for lack of a better word, ‘dodgy’ and I should avoid him'.
In response to Brand’s claims of innocence, she said: “humour me for a sec… what if what he’s saying is true and this [is] all a “big attempt to bring him down by Big Pharma” … Why choose this subject? Why not bring him down on fraud, tax evasion, homophobia, racism??”
What did Adam Rowe say about Russell Brand?
In a now partly-deleted Twitter thread, which can still be seen on Reddit Rowe, a 31-year-old stand-up comedian, said: “Russell Brand’s allegations far outdate his new “anti-mainstream-media” shtick. We’ve all known for YEARS but have been threatened with legal action and he has a super injunction. Dispatches must have enough to surpass it.” He added: “When I say “we’ve”, I mean the comedy industry.”
Referencing Brand’s denial of the allegations, he said: “His attempt to play this off as 'the mainstream are coming for me' is completely reverse engineered. He’s known this was coming for a long time and he’s spent recent years preparing this new anti-msm persona to prepare for it.”
Rowe deleted some, but not all of the posts, hours later, writing: “Deleted a lot of those earlier tweets purely because the replies were driving me insane. Twitter [now called X] is a pointless forum for the discussion of anything important and I forget that constantly.”
Which comedians have spoken out in support of Russell Brand?
One comedian, or possibly former comedian, who has been vocal in her support for Brand is Samantha Pressdee, 40, who said she was leaving the live comedy circuit earlier this year because it “has been castrated” and “there is no potency, no joy, no truth, no risk or substance”.
What did Samantha Pressdee say about Russell Brand?
Pressdee sent out numerous posts on her X page backing Brand, including one personal recollection where she said she herself had an encounter with him in the early-noughties but he did not object when she decided she didn't want it to progress further.
In a thread, she said: “In 2006 I refused to have sex with Russell Brand. I was in his London flat. There was a lot of heavy petting and we were both down to our pants. He didn’t pressure me when I said no. He wasn’t angry or abusive. Everything that happened was consensual. I stayed the night in his flat and felt safe. I have had countless non sexual and respectful encounters with him since.
“I only heard about the so-called ‘open secret’ when a comic mentioned it onstage at this year's Edinburgh Fringe Festival. I have been in the comedy industry for almost 10 years and worked as an actress, dancer and model before that. I had a friend who was invited over to his flat around 2014/ 2015. She also refused sex. She didn’t have a problem with him. So based on my own experience (and I am a sexual assault survivor myself -UNRELATED) I find these rumours hard to believe.”
She went on to hit out at the choice the women who feature in The Times, Sunday Times and Channel 4 Dispatches documentary made to speak to the press rather than the police. “The entertainment industry is a cesspit of spiteful, manipulative, envious and opportunistic people. These women apparently only came forward after being approached by journalists. I went straight to the police after my own UNRELATED sexual assault.
“Admittedly that got me nowhere and based on that experience, I have not bothered to press ahead legally with other UNRELATED sexual assaults, but I didn’t go to the press either.” She concluded her statement with the phrase “innocent until proven guilty”.
In a later post, she also called the investigation a “a smear campaign” and added: “if comedians were so worried about women in his presence, why didn’t anyone warn me? It’s malicious GOSSIP.”