Sunday, 23 Jun 2024

Russell Brand ‘used BBC car to pick up schoolgirl and knew scandal would erupt’

One of Russell Brand’s accusers has claimed a BBC car took her to meet him and that the star built up a social media following because he knew allegations against him would emerge one day.

Brand faces allegations of sexual assault from four separate women, including one who was 16 at the time, dating back to the height of his fame between 2006 and 2013.

The woman who was 16 at the time of the abuse alleges she was picked up by a BBC car from school and driven to a rendezvous with Brand.

The BBC has launched an urgent investigation into the issues raised by the allegations, which were first reported in a joint investigation by The Times, Sunday Times and Channel 4’s Dispatches.

In a video posted online, Brand has vehemently denied the allegations and said all of his relationships have been “consensual”.

He said: “Amidst this litany of astonishing, rather baroque attacks are some very serious allegations that I absolutely refute.”

The woman, whose real identity has not been revealed but was given the name “Alice” by BBC Women’s Hour, told the programme the BBC would arrange cars for him and she had seen BBC cars pick him up so knew how to identify them.

She added a friend was taking him to do his radio show so Brand said to her she should get in the car and go “wherever” she needed to go.

“Alice” said: “So I took the BBC car that time. On another occasion it picked me up from school.”

She said the chauffeur driven car took her back to Brand’s house.

The woman said she wasn’t expecting her “story” to make the impact it has and described Brand’s denial of the accusations as “insulting”.

Brand has argued that the claims are part of a vendetta against him driven by the mainstream media, but “Alice” said he is part of the mainstream media.

She said: “It is laughable that he would even imply that this is some kind of mainstream media conspiracy. He’s not outside of the mainstream.”

“Alice” said Brand’s millions of YouTube followers “lap up” his “conspiracy theories”, claiming that he had built up an audience for years of people who would then have “great distrust” of any publication which came forward with allegations.

She claimed: “He knew it was coming for a long time. As for him denying that anything non-consensual happened – that’s not a surprise to me.”

The BBC has said it is “urgently looking into the issues raised” while Brand worked on BBC radio programmes between 2006 and 2008, while Channel 4 announced it is conducting “its own internal investigation” following the allegations.

Since publication, The Times said it has been contacted by “several women” with claims about Brand, but said their allegations have not yet been investigated and “will now be rigorously checked”.

The Metropolitan Police said it will speak to The Sunday Times and Channel 4 to ensure “any victims of crime who they have spoken with are aware of how they may report any criminal allegations to police”.

Meanwhile, questions are now being asked about whether TV chiefs were aware of any concerns about Brand’s behaviour while working on their programmes.

Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee chairwoman Dame Caroline Dinenage said MPs would be “closely monitoring” the response to the allegations against Brand while Foreign Secretary James Cleverly, speaking on the BBC on Sunday, suggested there were wider questions for the entertainment industry to answer.

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