BBC removes some Russell Brand content as YouTube monetisation suspended
By Kerri-Ann Roper and Naomi Clarke, PA Reporters
YouTube has stopped Russell Brand making money on its platform because of the rape and sexual assault allegations made against him.
The Google-owned company said it has suspended the monetisation of the 48-year-old’s channel because he was “violating” its “creator responsibility policy”.
The BBC has also announced it was removing some content from its iPlayer and Sounds apps which “now falls below public expectations”.
An episode of QI and a Joe Wicks podcast, both featuring Brand as a guest, have been removed, the PA news agency understands.
It comes as the Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee chairwoman Dame Caroline Dinenage has written to the BBC, Channel 4 and TikTok to request for further details on what actions they are taking in response to the allegations and to GB News in relation to their coverage of the claims.
Brand’s YouTube account, which has 6.6 million subscribers, has been suspended from YouTube’s Partner account “following serious allegations against the creator”, meaning the channel is no longer able to make money from advertising on the platform.
In a statement, YouTube said the decision applied to all channels that may be “owned or operated” by Brand, adding: “If a creator’s off-platform behaviour harms our users, employees or ecosystem, we take action to protect the community.”
The news comes after the remaining shows of Brand’s Bipolarisation tour were postponed and the Metropolitan Police said they had received a report of an alleged sexual assault in the wake of media allegations about the comedian and actor.
A BBC spokesperson said: “The BBC does not ban or remove content when it is a matter of public record, unless we have justification for doing so.
“There is limited content featuring Russell Brand on iPlayer and Sounds. We’ve reviewed that content and made a considered decision to remove some of it, having assessed that it now falls below public expectations.”
Dame Caroline has said: “This weekend we have seen some very serious and disturbing accusations about Russell Brand’s behaviour and we understand that the police are now looking into some of these allegations.
“As a first step, our committee has decided that we will today write to media outlets, including the BBC and Channel 4, to understand the actions they are taking as we consider some of the issues around these allegations.”
In separate letters to Channel 4 chief executive Alex Mahon and BBC director-general Tim Davie, the committee chairwoman asked for a timescale and regular updates on their internal investigation.
The letters also requested updates on the investigation being conducted by Banijay UK, which bought Endemol, the company commissioned by Channel 4 to produce the Big Brother spin-off shows Brand hosted, into his behaviour while he was working on their programmes.
She added: “We urge both the BBC and Channel 4 to do everything possible not only to ensure that employees, contributors and suppliers feel safe at work, but also create an environment whereby people can speak out when procedures are breached.”
Meanwhile, TikTok’s director of Government relations, Theo Bertram, was asked whether Brand could monetise his posts on the video sharing platform, where he has 2.3 million followers.
Dame Caroline also asked “what the platform is doing to ensure that creators are not able to use the platform to undermine the welfare of victims of inappropriate and potentially illegal behaviour”.
Brand still has a presence on video platform Rumble, where his channel has 1.4 million followers and he hosts a weekly live show at 5pm BST, but there was no new episode on Monday.
His most recent video on Rumble is the short clip from Friday when he denied the allegations against him, which were published the following day.
His Rumble channel description reads: “Everybody knows that the old ideas won’t help us. Religion is dead. Capitalism is dead. Communism is dead. Where will the answers of the next century lie? Particularly, when we’re facing a mental health epidemic and ecological meltdown.”
He also has a dedicated subscribers’ area on the online community platform Locals, where members can sign up for a minimum 60 US dollars (£48) a year – or enter a higher amount if they wish to donate more – in order to access special bonus content from Brand, as well as the opportunity to interact with him directly.
Brand has been accused of rape, assault and emotional abuse between 2006 and 2013, when he was at the height of his fame and working for the BBC, Channel 4 and starring in Hollywood films, following a joint investigation by The Times, Sunday Times and Channel 4’s Dispatches.
He has strongly denied the allegations, which also include claims of controlling, abusive and predatory behaviour.
His YouTube channel includes coverage of news stories, including alleged misinformation surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic and being an outspoken sceptic of the vaccine.
Last year, one of his videos was taken down on YouTube over the site’s policy on Covid-19 disinformation, which prompted Brand to move his channel to Rumble.
On Tuesday, The Times reported that several other women have since come forward with fresh claims about Brand.
One woman, using the fake name Lisa, told the paper the comedian had sung about Soham killer Ian Huntley during a consensual sexual encounter in 2008.
Another woman, known as Esme, told The Times that Brand had been threatening and verbally abusive towards her when she refused to have sex with him.
In a now deleted YouTube video, Brand can be heard joking about raping a woman during a recording of Richard Herring’s Leicester Square Theatre Podcast in 2013.
Before the first allegations were published, Brand posted a video on Friday saying he has been “promiscuous” but that all of his relationships have been “consensual”.