YouTube has suspended comedian and influencer Russell Brand from monetizing content due to sexual assault allegations that came to light this week.
Citing the serious allegations against Brand, YouTube told USA TODAY on Tuesday that the comedian is no longer eligible for advertising revenue for videos he posts on the platform.
“We have suspended monetization on Russell Brand’s channel for violating our Creator Responsibility Policy,” a YouTube spokesperson told USA TODAY in an email. “If a creator’s off-platform behavior harms our users, employees, or ecosystem, we take action to protect the community.”
Brand has denied all allegations, saying in a video statement over the weekend that all of his relationships were consensual.
YouTube’s decision on Tuesday follows a joint investigation into Brand by British media outlets The Sunday Times, The Times of London and Channel 4’s “Dispatches.” The investigation included allegations from four women, including one aged 16 years, according to which Brand had sexually assaulted them.
Here’s what we know:
Allegations against Russell Brand:Russell Brand Allegations Mount: Comedian Fired as Agent, Faces Calls for Investigation
Russell Brand denies the allegations:Russell Brand denies rape and sexual assault allegations published by three British news agencies
Who is Russell Brand?
Brand rose to fame as a stand-up comedian in Britain in the early 2000s, landing him starring roles on Channel 4 and later BBC Radio, where he capitalized on his reputation for outrageous behavior and risky jokes.
He then made the jump to Hollywood, appearing in films such as “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” in 2008 and the remake of “Arthur” in 2011.
Brand was suspended by the BBC in 2008 for making lewd calls to “Fawlty Towers” actor Andrew Sachs, in which he bragged about having sex with Sachs’ granddaughter. He quit his radio show following the incident, which sparked thousands of complaints to the state-funded channel.
In recent years, Brand has transformed himself into a political commentator and influencer, posting YouTube videos on topics such as personal freedom and the COVID-19 pandemic.
He is also known for his brief marriage to pop star Katy Perry from 2010 to 2012.
What are the allegations?
The joint British media investigation was published this weekend. One woman alleged that Brand raped her while three others accused him of sexual assault. A woman also accused Brand of physical and emotional abuse.
Among the accusers, who have not been named, one said she was sexually assaulted during a relationship with Brand when she was 16 and still in school. Another woman claims Brand raped her in Los Angeles in 2012. She was treated at a rape crisis center the same day, according to the Times of London report.
The women said they were partly encouraged to talk about Brand because of his recent fame in the online influencer space.
The Times of London said Monday that more women had contacted the newspaper with allegations against Brand and that they would be “rigorously vetted.”
In his Instagram video, Brand said he “absolutely denies” all the allegations.
“These allegations were about when I was working in the mainstream, when I was in newspapers all the time, when I was in the movies,” he said. “As I wrote a lot in my book, I was very, very promiscuous. Now, during this period of promiscuity, the relationships that I had were absolutely always consensual.”
YouTube’s decision banning Brand from making money from his content applies to all channels that may be owned or operated by the actor. He was also suspended from the platform’s YouTube Partner Program, meaning he is prohibited from using a new or alternative channel to circumvent the enforcement ruling.
Brand’s main YouTube account currently has 6.6 million subscribers and regularly features controversial figures like Jordan Peterson, Tucker Carlson, and Ron DeSantis. Videos on the channel are posted with titles such as “The FBI Harvested Your DNA!?” “Wait, Were the Vaccination Mandates Based on a Lie! BOMBSHELL the CDC Emails” and “Zelenky’s Mass Censorship in Ukraine EXPOSED.”
Brand is associated with a handful of other channels that are also undergoing demonetization, including Football is Nice (20,000 subscribers), Awakening With Russell (426,000 subscribers) and Stay Free with Russell Brand (22,200 subscribers).
Brand still enjoys a large following on Rumble, a far-right video site where he has 1.4 million followers. On Instagram, where Brand posted a video denying the allegations, he has 3.8 million followers and on X, formerly Twitter, he has 11.2 million.
In his Instagram video, Brand said he believed the allegations were part of a coordinated mainstream media attack on his social media posts.
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Russell Brand abandoned other platforms and partnerships
The brand has already been excluded from a series of partnerships as a growing list of brands and people put distance between themselves and the actor.
Brand’s talent agency, Tavistock Wood, removed him from its roster following allegations, which an agency representative says they have been aware of since 2020.
“Russell Brand categorically and vehemently denied the allegations made in 2020, but we now believe we were horribly misled by him,” a Tavistock Wood representative told USA TODAY in a statement Sunday.
Pan Macmillan publishing company Bluebird also ended its working relationship with Brand.
“These are very serious allegations and in light of them, Bluebird has made the decision to suspend any future publications with Russell Brand,” a spokesperson told USA TODAY on Monday.
A women’s charity that Brand’s own charity, Stay Free Foundation, worked with has also severed ties. Trevi Women, a charity which helps mothers recover from drug and alcohol addiction, said in a statement on Saturday that it was “deeply saddened and distressed by the stories reported on Channel 4 Dispatches this evening regarding Russell Brand.” .
“As a charity whose values place women’s voices at the heart of what we do, we always prioritize supporting women affected by violence and abuse and empowering them to live free from violence and fear “said the organization.
The rest of Brand’s stand-up tour has also been postponed.
As part of the Bipolarization Tour, Brand was due to perform at the Theater Royal Windsor on 19 September, Plymouth Pavilions on 22 September and Halls Wolverhampton on 28 September. All tickets for performances will be available for refund.
“We are postponing these few remaining charity shows for fundraising against drug addiction,” promoters said in a statement emailed to venues. “We don’t like doing this, but we know you’ll understand.”