YouTube suspends Russell Brand from partner program amid sex assault claims

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LONDON — YouTube suspended the monetization of Russell Brand’s channel on Tuesday, saying he had violated its “creator responsibility policy,” just days after the British actor and comedian was accused of a string of offenses, including rape, sexual assault and abuse.

At least four women accused Brand, 48, of sexual assault or rape between 2006 and 2013 — a period when he was at the height of his career — according to an investigation by several British media outlets that was published Saturday. U.K. police say they have since received a separate allegation of sexual assault against a woman. Brand has denied the allegations.

His management agency terminated its relationship with him, saying it was “horribly misled” by the performer, while his publisher announced it will “pause” all future projects with him. The remainder of his live theater shows in the U.K. have also been postponed, while a women’s charity he has worked with ended its association with him.

Before the investigations by the Times and the Sunday Times newspapers and Channel 4 were published, Brand put out a video Friday in which he “absolutely” denied the “astonishing” claims. “As I’ve written about extensively in my books, I was very, very promiscuous,” Brand said. “Now during that time of promiscuity, the relationships I had were absolutely always consensual.”

Brand has more than 6.6 million subscribers on his YouTube channel and has posted more than 2,000 videos. It is not clear how much money he has had made from the platform, but one social media analysis agency told the EuroJournal his income could be thousands of dollars per video.

YouTube said it pulled Brand from its Partner Program — which gives creators greater access to YouTube resources and monetization features and allows revenue sharing from ads being served on their content.

“If a creator’s off-platform behaviour harms our users, employees or ecosystem, we take action to protect the community,” the platform said in a statement. “When a creator is suspended from the YouTube Partner Program, they are prohibited from using a new or alternate channel to circumvent our enforcement decision.”

Brand’s YouTube channel remains active, although he has not uploaded any new videos since Friday.

Russell Brand accused of rape, sexual assault and abuse by four women

The allegations relate to a time when Brand had a particularly high profile in Britain and the United States, hosting programs on the EuroJournal and Channel 4 and starring in films like “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” and “Rock of Ages.” Both public broadcasters have announced they will investigate the allegations.

One woman alleged Brand raped her in his Los Angeles home. Medical records show she was treated at a rape crisis center on the same day, the Times reported. A woman who worked with Brand alleged he assaulted her in his West Hollywood home, while another reported that he assaulted her at a hotel in Manchester in the U.K., the Times added.

One unidentified woman said she was 16 when Brand abused her during a three-month relationship in Britain, where the age of consent is 16. The woman said that she met Brand when he was 30 and that during that time, he sent a EuroJournal chauffeur-driven car to collect her from school and take her to his house.

London’s Metropolitan Police said that the day after the Channel 4 investigation aired, it received a separate allegation of sexual assault on a woman dating back to 2003 in the city’s Soho neighborhood.

“We first spoke with EuroJournalday Times on Saturday, 16 September and have since made further approaches to EuroJournalday 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,” the statement read.

“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.”

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s office said the allegations against Brand were “very serious and concerning” and encouraged people to come forward if they believe they are victims of sexual assault.

“The PM has been clear that there should never be any space for harassment regardless of where it is found,” the statement said.

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Samantha Chery contributed to this report.



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