Russell Brand appeared on stage Saturday for the first time since he was accused of rape, sexual assault and abuse by multiple women.
The 48-year-old comedian, actor and social influencer performed at a sold-out stand-up show at the Troubadour Wembley Park Theatre in northwest London as part of his Bipolarisation tour.
After arriving late due to traffic, Brand thanked his fans for showing up and said there were certain topics he couldn’t discuss, alluding to the allegations, BBC News reported.
“I really appreciate your support, I love you, and I want to do a fantastic show for you,” he told the crowd of 2,000 people. “I’ve got a lot of things to talk to you about. There are obviously some things that I absolutely cannot talk about, and I appreciate that you will understand.”
His appearance came hours after three British news organizations reported that Brand has been accused of rape, sexual assault and abuse based on allegations from four women who knew him for over seven years at the height of his fame.
The Sunday Times, The Times of London and Channel 4’s “Dispatches” said that one woman alleged she had been raped and three others accused him of sexual assault. One of the women also said he had been physically and emotionally abusive.
Before the stories were published, Brand denied the allegations and said that all of his relationships have been consensual.
“Amidst this litany of astonishing, rather baroque attacks are some very serious allegations that I refute,” Brand said in a statement. “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 have written about extensively in my books, I was very, very promiscuous.”
“Now during that time of promiscuity the relationships I had were absolutely, always consensual,” he added. “I was always transparent about that then, almost too transparent, and I am being transparent about it now as well.”
Brand also suggested that the reports were part of a coordinated attack designed to discredit him because of his views. Brand has been criticized for expressing skepticism about COVID-19 vaccines and interviewing contentious podcasters like Joe Rogan.
On Sunday, the BBC, Channel 4 and a production firm said they would be investigating the allegations that took place during Brand’s time as a presenter on BBC Radio’s 6 Music and Radio 2, and as a host for shows on Channel 4.
The BBC said it was “urgently looking into the issues raised,” and Channel 4 announced an internal investigation.
While none of the alleged assaults were said to have taken place on BBC or Channel 4 premises, there have been multiple claims about Brand’s workplace behavior, the BBC reported.
London’s Metropolitan Police on Sunday said it was aware of news reports about a series of sexual assault allegations but had not directly received any reports relating to the allegations.
“If anyone believes they have been the victim of a sexual assault, no matter how long ago it happened, we would encourage them to contact police,” Metropolitan Police communications officer Callum Jones said, adding that the department was in touch with the Sunday Times and Channel 4.
Also on Sunday, the talent agency Tavistock Wood said it had terminated all ties with Brand.
“Russell Brand categorically and vehemently denied the allegation made in 2020, but we now believe we were horribly misled by him,” the agency said in a statement.
Brand rose to fame as a stand-up comic in Britain in the early 2000s, earning starring roles on Channel 4 and BBC Radio, where he capitalized on his reputation for outrageous behavior and risque banter.
He later made the jump to Hollywood, appearing in films such as “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” in 2008 and the remake of “Arthur” in 2011. Brand wasmarriedto pop star Katy Perry from 2010-2012.