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BBC & Banijay Launch “Urgent” Investigations Into Russell Brand Allegations

UPDATED 08:29 a.m. PT: The BBC has now joined with Banijay in launching an urgent investigation into the Russell Brand allegations.

The BBC is looking into Brand’s behavior while working on BBC radio shows between 2006 and 2008.

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A BBC spokesman said: “The documentary [on Brand] 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.”

Brand vehemently denies the allegations published by The Times, Sunday Times and Channel 4.

One allegation from a 16-year-old concerning an inappropriate relationship is alleged to have taken place at a time when Brand was working as a presenter on BBC Radio 6 Music. It is also alleged that Brand would undress in the studio while working on the show. Channel 4’s Dispatches also said Brand made sexual remarks on air about a newsreader, which he later implied he had been told by BBC production staff to apologise for.

The BBC is also currently looking into historic allegations against DJ Tim Westwood.

PREVIOUS: Big Brother producer Banijay has launched an “urgent internal investigation” into historic allegations against Russell Brand.

Some of the allegations against Brand published by The Times, Sunday Times and Channel 4 in the past 24 hours were said to have happened during the making of Big Brother’s Big Mouth and Big Brother’s EFourum, which were made by Endemol – subsequently bought by Banijay – in the mid-noughties.

Following publication of the allegations, which have dominated headlines today and rocked the entertainment world, Channel 4 asked Banijay to investigate historical allegations that Brand behaved inappropriately while presenting the Big Brother spin-offs.

Banijay UK said: “In light of the very serious allegations raised by [Channel 4’s] Dispatches and The Times / Sunday Times investigation relating to the alleged serious misconduct of Russell Brand while presenting shows produced by Endemol in 2004 and 2005, Banijay UK has launched an urgent internal investigation and will cooperate with any requests for information from broadcast partners and external agencies.

“We also encourage anybody who feels that they were affected by Brand’s behaviour while working on these productions to contact us in confidence.”

Prior to the probe launch, Banijay apologized for Endemol’s procedures at the time of the concerns, but said it now has “robust welfare procedures and policies in place,” including a whistleblowing line and dedicated HR contacts.

Brand, who vehemently denies wrongdoing, has been accused of flashing his penis at a runner and pursuing female audience members for sex while working on EFourum and Big Brother’s Big Mouth.

Two former crew members told the Times newspapers that they felt like they were working as a “pimp” for Brand during their time on EFourum. One runner, who went on to have a relationship with Brand, alleged that she was shocked when he flashed his penis at her and insinuated that she could give him oral sex during an encounter in his dressing room.

A researcher claimed that Brand’s pursuit of audience members was reported to production managers at Endemol, but their concerns were dismissed. Banijay said it could find no record of concerns being raised about Brand after recently reviewing files.

A Channel 4 spokesman said the broadcasters will be “writing to all our current suppliers reminding them of their responsibilities under our Code of Conduct.”

“Channel 4 is 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,” added the spokesman, who said the network had “carried out extensive document searches and found no evidence to suggest the alleged incidents were brought to the attention of Channel 4.”

“We will continue to review this in light of any further information we receive, including the accounts of those affected individuals. 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.”

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