Russell Brand: entertainment industry has questions to answer, says Cleverly – The Guardian

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Foreign secretary makes comments after allegations of rape and sexual assault made against comedian
The foreign secretary has said the entertainment industry has questions to answer, after revelations that the comedian Russell Brand has been accused of rape, sexual assault and emotional abuse.
James Cleverly became the most senior British politician to talk about the issue after the allegations about Brand’s behaviour were published by the Sunday Times and Channel 4’s Dispatches on Saturday night. Brand has strongly denied the allegations.
He told the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg: “We have to be particularly careful when we listen to the voices of the people who are relatively powerless. Because we, I think, collectively have missed opportunities to do the right thing and intervene much, much earlier.”
Asked whether he thought there were questions for the entertainment industry more broadly to answer, he added: “Sadly I think there are.”
Separately, Cleverly told Sky News’ Sir Trevor Phillips: “In the film industry, in the entertainment industry … in the area that I work in, in terms of politics, where you have very, very significant power differentials, long working hours – in those environments, I think institutionally, we need to be particularly vigilant.”
Cleverly was speaking the morning after the allegations were published, after a multi-year investigation by the Times, the Sunday Times and Channel 4’s Dispatches.
The Sunday Times revealed in its coverage that Brand had been accused by multiple women of sexual assault and abusive behaviour between 2006 and 2013.
One woman said she entered a relationship with the comedian and presenter when she was 16 and he was 31. During that relationship, she said, Brand called her “the child”.
Another woman said Brand raped her in his home in Los Angeles in 2012, after which she visited a rape crisis centre. The Sunday Times published texts to her – from a phone number that they said multiple sources verified as belonging to Brand – in which he said: “I’m sorry. That was crazy and selfish.”
A third woman says she was assaulted in the same house the following year after having worked with Brand on a project.
Several sources told the Sunday Times that the BBC had failed to act despite multiple complaints about Brand’s behaviour, including one incident in which he is alleged to have urinated into a bottle in a Radio 2 Studio.
The BBC said: “Russell Brand left the BBC after a serious editorial breach in 2008 – as did the then-controller of Radio 2.
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“The circumstances of the breach were reviewed in detail at the time. We hope that demonstrates that the BBC takes issues seriously and is prepared to act.
“The BBC has, over successive years, evolved its approach to how it manages talent and indeed how it deals with complaints or issues raised.”
Brand has strongly denied the allegations. In a video he posted online on Friday night, he said: “During that time of promiscuity, the relationships I had were absolutely always consensual. I was always transparent about that then, almost too transparent, and I am being transparent about it now as well.”
Despite the allegations, Brand performed a show in London on Saturday night, telling the audience: “There’s some things I cannot talk about and hopefully you appreciate that. I’m gonna give you everything I’ve got.”


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