Police in London have said they are now investigating a “number of sexual assault allegations” against Russell Brand.
The 48 year old comedian and actor has been accused by several women of rape, sexual assault, and emotional abuse between 2006 and 2013, at the height of his fame, according to a joint investigation by UK newspapers the Sunday Times and Times and Channel 4 Television’s Dispatches program.
Other women have since reportedly come forward.
Brand has vigorously denied all allegations against him calling it a “co-ordinated media attack”.
Minutes after police announced they were looking into the comic he went on an hour long rant on social media railing about free speech
On Monday afternoon, UK time, the Metropolitan Police said it had received a “number of allegations of sexual offences” both in London and other parts of the country.
“The offences are all non-recent. Officers will be offering specialist support to all of the women who have made allegations,” police said.
Detective Superintendent Andy Furphy said: “We continue to encourage anyone who believes they may have been a victim of a sexual offence, no matter how long ago it was, to contact us”.
“We understand it can feel like a difficult step to take and I want to reassure that we have a team of specialist officers available to advise and support.”
Police have stressed no one has been arrested and inquires are continuing.
Brand lashes out
On Monday, after the Metropolitan Police released its statement, Brand appeared on social media platform Rumble.
YouTube and other social media sites have stopped Brand form earning money from his posts while the allegations play out. However, Brand can still earn income from Rumble.
Brand had flagged he would appear online in a live stream entitled “Are we being silenced? The battle for free speech”.
He said it was “hard for me to be objective given events of the last week but that is what we must try to do”.
In the livestream, Brand said the “legacy media” was in cahoots with one another to “support a state agenda” and “silence independent media voices”.
“What we appear to be looking at here are a set of collaborating institutions that have an agenda, and pursue that agenda, even when in pursuing it they have to bypass, obstruct, or absolutely ignore existing judicial or regulatory bodies by moving straight to punitive measures.”
It has emerged that Brand was questioned by police over claims of sexual assault in 2014.
An English masseuse said Brand attacked her at a mansion in Oxfordshire, west of London, the New York Post reported.
She said she was hired to give Brand a birthday massage.
When she led him to his massage table, the masseuse claimed Brand began touching her “in a sexual way” for about 40 minutes before he was kicked out of the mansion, according to the report.
She said she felt she was treated “like a prostitute,” receiving payment for the massage even though she never gave him one.
The woman said she called Thames Valley Police, who went on to grill Brand over the allegations, which he denied, describing the encounter as “friendly but awkward,” according to the report.
Brand also said that CCTV footage from the property supported his version of the story that he was not told to leave the house.
The following month, Thames Valley Police informed the masseuse and Brand that they were not pursuing the case.
Another woman has come forward telling London police she was sexually assaulted by Brand in the city’s Soho area in 2003.
Brand is currently being investigated by officers with Britain’s Operation Hydrant, a sex crimes squad set up after the late BBC star Jimmy Savile was found to have abused hundreds of kids and vulnerable adults.
The BBC, where Brand had worked as a radio presenter during the time of the first alleged assaults, said it has launched its own internal investigation into the claims.
Brand was sacked from the BBC after he made a series of lewd phone calls to an actor while presenting his radio show.
The production company Banijay UK, which made some of the major shows which Brand presented on Channel 4, has also launched its own probe.
Channel 4 has said it has no record of any complaints of a sexual nature against Brand.