Russell Brand concerns ‘not adequately addressed’

Informal concerns raised about Russell Brand while he hosted Big Brother spin-off programmes were “not properly escalated or adequately addressed”, according to the findings of an investigation.

The comedian and actor fronted shows including Big Brother’s Big Mouth and Big Brother’s Celebrity Hijack on Channel 4 between 2004 and 2008.

An investigation by production company Banijay UK has said managers were alerted to allegations that he asked staff to get audience members’ phone numbers, and that his behaviour made female crew members feel uncomfortable or intimidated.

However, no formal complaints were made and the concerns were not escalated, it said.
Banijay said: “We are extremely sorry to anyone who was impacted by this behaviour and felt unable to speak up or that their voice was not properly heard.”

Last September, Brand was accused of rape, assault and emotional abuse in an investigation by Channel 4’s Dispatches programme, The Times and Sunday Times.
He strongly denied the allegations, saying his relationships have “always” been consensual.

The Sunday Times’ report quoted a former TV researcher as saying Brand’s pursuit of audience members for sex was reported to production managers, but their concerns were dismissed.
According to the paper, the researcher said they were told by a talent manager: “It’s what happens with the talent.

Boys will be boys. It’s not a big deal.”
Banijay, which bought Big Brother producer Endemol Shine in 2020, is one of several broadcasting organisations to have investigated whether any complaints were made about Brand’s behaviour during his employment.
Banijay asked law firm Lewis Silkin LLP to conduct the investigation.

Lewis Silkin’s head of investigations Karen Baxter concluded: “No formal complaints were made about Brand during the programmes.
“There were, however, concerns regarding Brand’s behaviour which were raised informally with senior members of staff, particularly in relation to him asking runners to obtain phone numbers of audience members and female crew members feeling uncomfortable or intimidated by his behaviour while working in Bristol in 2004/2005.

“These concerns were not properly escalated or adequately addressed.”
The Banijay investigation said Brand was understood to have had sexual relationships with some audience and staff members, and these were “understood to be consensual”, it said.

Producers knew he was a “recovering drug addict with a reputation for being ‘edgy”‘ but “no particular safeguards were put in place to protect Brand, those who worked with him or those who otherwise came into contact with him”, including the audience, it said.
Banijay UK chief executive Patrick Holland said: “Industry protocols, duty of care and expectations of behaviour have vastly improved in recent years and continue to be reviewed and progressively updated on a regular basis.”

A Channel 4 spokesman said: “We thank Banijay for their thorough investigation and have noted their findings.”
In March, Channel 4 chief executive Alex Mahon apologised to a former employee after the channel’s own internal probe found it had not investigated a “serious” complaint made against Brand in 2009.
Channel 4 sorry after

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