YouTube has suspended adverts from being displayed on videos by Russell Brand, and the BBC has deleted his content on their iPlayer, amid accusations that the comedian and political commentator sexually assaulted multiple women.
The Google-owned company said it had suspended the monetisation of Brand’s channel for “violating our Creator Responsibility policy”.
Meanwhile, the BBC says it has removed some of its content featuring Brand from iPlayer and BBC 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,” a spokesperson for the BBC said.
A 2018 episode of QI and a 2021 Joe Wicks podcast containing Brand as a guest, are now listed as “not currently available” on the BBC’s website.
The move, that some have condemned as ‘cancelling’ and denying Brand of his right to the presumption of innocence, comes after four women made sexual abuse allegations against the star between 2006 and 2013 as part of an investigation by The Times, The Sunday Times and Channel 4’s Dispatches.
Brand, 48, denies all of the criminal allegations against him, and claimed in a video posted online on Friday night that all his relationships have been “consensual”.
A YouTube spokesperson said: “If a creator’s off-platform behaviour harms our users, employees or ecosystem, we take action to protect the community.
“This decision applies to all channels that may be owned or operated by Russell Brand.”
Brand’s YouTube channels – the largest of which has more than six million subscribers – remain on the platform, but his videos, that mostly contain debunked conspiracy theories, no longer feature adverts.
Technology journalist Chris Stokel-Walker told Sky News that Brand could earn anything between $70,000 (£57,000) and $1m (£810,000) in advertising revenue each year from his YouTube videos.
“That is a huge differential between the lower band and the upper band and that is because, often these things are quite transparent, but fundamentally whenever you watch a YouTube video, and you see a little advert before or during the video, the creator shares in around half of the income that comes from that,” he said.
Brand maintains a presence on Rumble – a video site popular with some conservatives and far-right groups – where his channel has 1.4m followers.
However, he has not posted since his denial video on Friday.
Meanwhile, although no evidence has been provided to support most of the accusations, a great deal of focus is being centred on a text message confirmed to have been sent by Brand himself.
The message was sent to ‘Nadia’, who claims that she was raped by Brand and visited a rape centre the following day. Her visit to a rape centre has been verified by Channel 4 journalists.
In the text message, Nadia told him that ‘no means no,’ and slammed him for not using a condom, against her wishes. Russell is then seen to be issuing a grovelling apology.
Issuing a statement yesterday, the Met Police confirmed that a fresh alleged victim has now made an official report that they are now looking into, with the woman’s allegations pertaining to an alleged assault in 2003.
A spokesperson for the Met said: “We are aware of reporting by The Sunday Times and Channel 4’s Dispatches about allegations of sexual offences.
“On Sunday, 17 September, the Met received a report 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.
“We first spoke with The Sunday Times on Saturday, 16 September and have since made further approaches to The Sunday Times and Channel 4 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.
“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.”
Meanwhile, the BBC said in a statement: “The documentary and associated reports contained serious allegations, spanning a number of years.
“Russell Brand worked on BBC radio programmes between 2006 and 2008 and we are urgently looking into the issues raised.”
The BBC and Channel 4 have pledged to investigate claims made about the former presenter, while Channel 4 has removed all programmes linked to Brand from its website.
A Channel 4 spokesperson said: “We have asked the production company who produced the programmes for Channel 4 to investigate these allegations and report their findings properly and satisfactorily to us.
“Channel 4 is also conducting its own internal investigation, and we would encourage anyone who is aware of such behaviour to contact us directly.”