YouTube cuts off Russell Brand’s ad revenues after sexual assault allegations

September 19, 2023 - 4:45 PM
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Comedian Russell Brand poses for photographers before signing copies of his new book entitled "Revolution" in central London, December 5, 2014. (Reuters/Suzanne Plunket)

LONDON — YouTube said on Tuesday it had blocked Russell Brand from making money from his online channel after the British actor and comedian was accused of a string of sexual assaults.

Brand, once one of Britain’s most high-profile comedians and broadcasters, said on Saturday he had never had non-consensual sex.

That came as the Sunday Times newspaper and Channel 4 TV’s documentary show “Dispatches” reported that four women had accused the 48-year-old of sexual assaults, including a rape, between 2006 and 2013.

London police said on Monday that since then they had received an allegation of sexual assault dating from 2003.

Brand, the former husband of U.S. singer Katy Perry, has repositioned himself in recent years to build a more than 6 million-strong following to his YouTube channel.

Recent videos included an interview with the former Fox News host Tucker Carlson and discussions on everything from COVID to UFOs, censorship and wellbeing.

YouTube, owned by Google parent Alphabet Inc GOOGL.O, said it had suspended monetization on Brand’s channel after he violated its creator responsibility policy.

“If a creator’s off-platform behavior harms our users, employees or ecosystem, we take action to protect the community,” a YouTube spokesperson said.

Brand issued a video message on social media on Saturday to deny the “very serious criminal allegations” hours before they were published.

“These allegations pertain to the time when I was working in the mainstream, when I was in the newspapers all the time, when I was in the movies. And 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,” added the comedian, known for his flamboyant style and appearance.

Live shows planned by Brand have also been canceled after the allegations emerged in the media.

– Reporting by Sarah Young and Kate HoltonEditing by William Schomberg and Peter Graff