British police launch Russell Brand sex crimes investigation

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British police have opened a sex crimes investigation triggered by news reports and subsequent complaints about comedian Russell Brand.

London’s Metropolitan Police said on Monday that it had “received a number of allegations of sexual offences” after a television documentary and newspaper investigations. It said there have been no arrests.

Russell Brand has been accused of rape, sexual assault and abuse. He has denied the allegations.Credit: Chris Pizello

Brand, 48, denies allegations of sexual assault made by four women in a Channel 4 television documentary and The Times and Sunday Times newspapers. The accusers, who have not been named, include one who said she was sexually assaulted during a relationship with him when she was 16. Another woman says Brand raped her in Los Angeles in 2012.

Further women have since come forward to make allegations about the comedian.

The police force did not name Brand in its statement, but referred to the recent articles and documentary. It said detectives were investigating allegations of “non-recent” sexual offences in London and elsewhere.

“We continue to encourage anyone who believes they may have been a victim of a sexual offence, no matter how long ago it was, to contact us,” said Detective Superintendent Andy Furphy, who is leading the investigation on behalf of the Met’s Specialist Crime Command.

The police declined to give details of the dates, the number of incidents or the details of the offences under investigation.

However, last week, in wake of the reports, the police did say they had received an allegation of a sexual assault reported to have taken place in Soho, central London, in 2003.

Brand has rejected the allegations, saying on his social media channels that he had never had non-consensual sex.

Known for his unbridled standup routines, Brand was a major UK star in the early 2000s. He hosted shows on radio and television, wrote memoirs charting drug and alcohol addiction, appeared in several Hollywood movies and was briefly married to pop star Katy Perry between 2010 and 2012.

Brand has largely disappeared from mainstream media, but has built up a large following online with videos mixing wellness and conspiracy theories.

Last week YouTube said it would stop Brand from making money from the streaming site, where he has 6.6 million subscribers, due to the “serious allegations” against him.

Promoters also cancelled several scheduled live shows by Brand, and he has been dropped by his talent agency and a publisher since the allegations became public.

AP, Reuters

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