BBC has removed Russell Brand content from the network’s iPlayer and sound sites in light of the rape and sexual assault allegations against the comedian, after the network “assessed that [the content] now falls below public expectations,” according to a BBC spokesperson.
The network has yet to announce which programs were pulled, but the news division of the organization found that an episode of the game show “QI” and an episode of Joe Wicks podcast, both of which featured Brand as a guest, were removed. Shortly after the original report was published, Channel 4, which heavily contributed to the report through its “Dispatches” program, pulled several episodes that featured Brand.
Additionally, YouTube has announced it has suspended advertisements to Brand’s content, no longer allowing Brand to make money from videos on its site. The tech company emphasized that Brand violated YouTube’s “Creator Responsibility policy.”
“If a creator’s off-platform behaviour harms our users, employees or ecosystem, we take action to protect the community,” a spokesperson for YouTube said according to reports from the BBC.
The allegations against Brand even made their way into incoming BAFTA chair Sara Putt’s first letter to members. “This weekend’s news has again raised serious questions about the culture of the screen industries and what still needs to change,” Putt said according to multiple media reports.
In the letter, Putt noted that the British Academy is “supportive of the creation of CIISA, an independent standards authority for those working in the creative industries.”
An acronym for the Creative Industries Independent Standards Authority, the CIISA is an organization dedicated to upholding standards of behavior across all creative industries and preventing bullying and harassment, “including bullying and harassment of a discriminatory nature.” Developed in 2021, the organization seeks to be an independent body where members of the industry can raise concerns anonymously while also offering mediation and investigation services. It’s currently in its development stage.
On Saturday, an investigation from Britain’s Channel 4 and newspapers The Times and The Sunday Times published an expose accusing Brand of sexual assault. Four women said the comedian assaulted them between 2006 and 2013. One of the accusers was 16 at the time of the incident, the age of consent in England. Brand has denied all allegations against him.
The industry backlash against the performer has been swift. Brand was dropped by his talent agency, Tavistock Wood, which knew of at least one reported incident in 2020. Additionally, Brand’s book deal has been paused, Channel 4 has launched an internal investigation against him and is encouraging production companies to do the same and his live show was postponed.