Russell Brand dropped by festival over sexual assault allegations

Russell Brand denies the allegations (PA Archive)
Russell Brand denies the allegations (PA Archive)

An Australian festival has become the latest organisation to drop its association with Russell Brand in the wake of sexual assault allegations against the comedian.

Brand is accused of rape, sexual assault and emotional abuse relating to four women between 2006 and 2013. He has vehemently denied the claims.

The 48-year-old was due to headline The Wanderlust Festival next February, a wellness festival in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne.

But in a statement, Wanderlust’s chief executive Charlotte Hill said: “Due to the circumstances that have recently come to light, Wanderlust and Russell Brand have agreed that Mr Brand will not be appearing at the Wanderlust Festival.”

The organisation is the latest to distance itself from Brand. On Tuesday, YouTube blocked Brand from earning more money from his YouTube channel.

YouTube said it had taken action “to protect” its customers because the comedian had “violated our … policy” through his “off-platform behaviour”.

He has been estimated to make between £2,000 and £4,000 per video on his YouTube channel where he has more than six million followers and broadcasts regularly.

Both Channel 4 and the BBC have launched investigations into the comedian and actor’s time at their channels, along with removing content featuring Brand from their platforms.

Channel 4 chief executive Alex Mahon said on Wednesday allegations show that “terrible behaviour" towards women has been “historically tolerated" in the industry.

Ms Mahon addressed the claims against the presenter, who used to host Channel 4's Big Brother spin-off shows EFourum and Big Brother's Big Mouth, as she opened the Royal Television Society (RTS) Cambridge Convention on Wednesday.

Ms Mahon said: “The allegations made against Russell Brand are horrendous and as a CEO of Channel 4 and as a woman in our industry, I found the behaviours described in Dispatches and The Sunday Times and The Times articles disgusting and saddening.

“The allegations of course need to be followed up further and we and the BBC and Banijay are busy investigating."

She added that her channel had invited anyone that knew about such behaviour to come to them directly, as well as noting that they had set up a process for people to contact the broadcaster anonymously if they needed to.

Meanwhile, the BBC has said it is “urgently looking into the issues raised” while Brand worked on its shows between 2006 and 2008.