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Russell Brand was known to be ‘nasty’ if people rejected advances, says comedian

Russell Brand has denied sexual assault allegations (Dominic Lipinski/PA)
Russell Brand has denied sexual assault allegations (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

Russell Brand had a “reputation” for becoming “angry or a bit nasty” when his sexual advances were rejected, according to a comedian who once worked with him.

Cole Parker, who worked with Brand between 2000 and 2002, claimed that models were often warned by their agents about the comedian.

Brand, 48, has strongly denied allegations of rape and sexual assault made by four women in an investigation by The Sunday Times, The Times and Channel 4’s Dispatches.

He has not responded to the latest claims made in an interview aired on Friday, in which Parker told BBC’s Newsnight he was “surprised” details were not made public sooner.

He said: “A lot of the modelling agents would sit down and tell their models, tell their stable, warn them about him.

“Things like people go back to his house and they fool around and then if they didn’t want to go all the way, he had a reputation for sometimes getting angry or a bit nasty if people wouldn’t sleep with him the first time.

The 83rd Academy Awards – Press Room – Los Angeles
Russell Brand has denied allegations of sexual assault (Ian West/PA)

“And given the fact that he was a celebrity, very good-looking man, very funny, he didn’t really need to sort of operate that way.

“There would have been plenty of people who would have been happy to get themselves involved in a dalliance with him, he didn’t have to go with people who were reluctant to do so.”

Asked if he was surprised by the allegations, he added: “I’m surprised it didn’t come out sooner, I’m surprised at the moment that it’s only four of them.”

Parker also said he felt “let down” by the comedy industry and that if allegations Brand had had a relationship with a 16-year-old had been known at the time, news would have travelled around the circuit “like wildfire”.

“Nobody knew what he was up to, nobody knew his specific dalliances, so how could anyone speak out?” he said.

Asked what he would say to the alleged victims, Parker became emotional as he added: “It would be difficult to speak to them without wanting to cry for them frankly, I don’t know really, I don’t know…

“I think everyone feels for them, all I can say is, we support you and what happened was awful and it shouldn’t have happened.”

The BBC is facing fresh pressure over its handling of claims against Brand, with the head of a broadcasting union saying an alleged incident, reported in 2019, should have been cause for an “in depth investigation” by the broadcaster.

The incident allegedly happened in 2008 when the woman was working in the same building as the corporation’s office in Los Angeles.

The BBC reported the comedian then pre-recorded his Radio 2 show minutes later and is heard laughing as his co-presenter Matt Morgan said it had been “25 minutes” since Brand “showed his willy to a lady”.

The woman did not make a formal complaint, according to the BBC, but management was informed about the incident in 2019.

Mr Morgan told the BBC he was “not aware until now of the nature of this encounter” and said, in a statement through his lawyer, that he condemned all forms of mistreatment of women.

“Looking back on the time I spent working on radio at the BBC, I am regretful to learn that a show I was part of made colleagues uncomfortable at times,” he added.

Philippa Childs, the head of broadcasting union Bectu, said: “Somebody did complain about it in 2019 and at that point, I think they should have had a more in depth investigation.

“Obviously it wouldn’t have taken a huge investigation because the proof was there on the recording and they should have taken action then. As far as that was concerned.”

Speaking on what the BBC can do to protect people who make a complaint to them, she added: “I think making sure that they are prepared to act if they hear something…

“I think it’s about encouraging everybody to speak out about bad behaviours and so they need to accept that they must be prepared to deal with people, however high profile they are, however important they are.”

In a statement, a BBC spokesperson said: “We’re very sorry to hear of these allegations and we will look into them.

“We are conducting a review to look at allegations of this nature and if the woman who has shared her story is willing to speak to us, we would be very keen to hear from her and anyone else who may have information.

“A key part of the review is to understand what complaints were made at the time, if there was knowledge of Russell Brand’s conduct while he worked on BBC radio, and what was done as a result.

“We will, of course, speak to the bureau team and anyone who was working there in 2008 as part of this.

“Further, the director-general has been very clear that some broadcasts from that period were, and are, inexcusable and totally unacceptable, and would never be aired today.”

Both YouTube, which hosts Brand’s video channel, and podcasting platform Acast, where his Under The Skin podcast appears, have said he would not make money from advertisements on their sites and apps.

YouTube chief executive Neal Mohan defended the decision in an interview with CBS, saying: “If creators have off-platform behaviour or if there’s off-platform news which could be damaging to the broader creator ecosystem, you can be suspended from our modernisation programme.”

Brand’s representatives and the BBC have been approached for comment.