YouTube has blocked Russell Brand from making money from advertising on the online video platform in response to allegations of rape, sexual assault and abuse against the British comedian and actor.
YouTube said it had “suspended monetisation” for Brand’s channels, which have more than 6.6mn subscribers. The channels remain available to be viewed.
Broadcasters such as Channel 4 have taken down shows that have featured or been hosted by the comedian since the Sunday Times and Channel 4 made the allegations on Saturday that Brand committed rape, sexual assault and sexual and emotional abuse between 2006 and 2013.
At the time he was starring in shows on the BBC and Channel 4 and appearing in Hollywood films.
Brand used his main YouTube channel @RussellBrand, as well as social media platforms Instagram and X, formerly Twitter, on Friday to deny the claims. He said that his relationships were “always consensual”.
YouTube said its action was consistent with how it had applied its policy in the past, citing decisions to demonetise YouTubers James Charles and David Dobrik following sexual misconduct allegations.
“If a creator’s off-platform behaviour harms our users, employees or ecosystem, we take action to protect the community,” the company said.
Media experts say that much of the comedian’s income is likely to be from the YouTube channels, where he has been posting videos positioning himself as a wellness and health guru, as well as on global politics and the media.
Other commercial partners have also cut ties with him, including his publisher Bluebird, an imprint of Pan Macmillan, that was due to bring out a book in December, and the Curtis Brown-owned talent agency Tavistock Wood.
His live tour dates have been postponed by the promoter after his last appearance at Wembley Park Theatre in London on Saturday night, which began after the allegations were reported by The Sunday Times and Channel 4.
The Metropolitan Police said on Monday that it had received a report of an alleged sexual assault in 2003 following the allegations of sexual offences.
Broadcasters that employed Brand as a presenter or guest have launched investigations into his conduct. The BBC said the 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”.
Brand worked on spin-off Big Brother shows produced by Endemol, which was acquired by Banijay UK in 2020. In response to “very serious allegations . . . relating to the alleged serious misconduct of Russell Brand while presenting shows produced by Endemol in 2004 and 2005”, Banijay said that it had “launched an urgent internal investigation and will co-operate with any requests for information from broadcast partners and external agencies”.
Channel 4 said that it was “appalled to learn of these deeply troubling allegations including behaviour alleged to have taken place on programmes made for Channel 4 between 2004 and 2007”. The broadcaster has taken down content featuring Brand, such as episodes of The Great British Bake Off.
Channel 4 said it was “determined to understand the full nature of what went on”, adding: “We have carried out extensive document searches and have found no evidence to suggest the alleged incidents were brought to the attention of Channel 4.
“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.”
Source: Financial Times