The BBC network in Britain has given an update into its workplace misconduct investigation into comedian Russell Brand, which includes a complaint regarding conduct at the British broadcaster’s Los Angeles office in 2008.
“Our investigations so far indicate a total of five complaints directly to the BBC: two individuals raised complaints and concerns during 2006-8 and raised these issues again after Russell Brand left the BBC. A separate complaint was made by another individual after Russell Brand had left the BBC in relation to the 2008 allegation in LA. Two further complainants have come forward since the review began,” BBC representative Peter Johnston said of the ongoing probe on Tuesday.
The allegation from Los Angeles around workplace conduct in 2008 was first formally reported to the BBC in 2019. “We have spoken to a number of individuals, including some who were based in Los Angeles at the time, but the work on this continues. Alongside understanding the extent of any knowledge of that incident within the BBC prior to 2019, I am also looking at what was broadcast at the time,” Johnston said of the complaint around Brand while working on a BBC project in Los Angeles.
BBC News earlier reported on a sexual misconduct allegation against Brand for exposing himself to a woman who worked in the same Los Angeles building as the comedian in 2008. Brand’s accuser worked for a media company in the same building as BBC’s Los Angeles office, and alleged he exposed himself to her while they were both in a locked bathroom, and spoke and joked about the sexual harassment on an episode of The Russell Brand Show for Radio 2.
The internal investigation at the BBC follows media reports in September published by U.K.’s The Times, The Sunday Times and Channel 4 Dispatches where multiple women accused the British comedian and actor of sexual assault and rape in incidents that spanned from 2006 to 2013.
The British broadcaster at the time also removed content involving Brand, who worked with the BBC for its 6 Music and then Radio 2 channels from 2006 to 2008. The BBC is investigating which complaints or allegations against Brand for his conduct while engaged by the broadcaster were received over the years, and when.
“The passage of time means this is not a straightforward task – for example, the BBC did not maintain a centralised record of staff complaints regarding bullying and harassment (including sexual harassment) at the time,” Johnston said.
But he added the BBC did see “some complaints and concerns were raised” over Brand’s conduct.
These include “allegations of inappropriate conduct in the workplace (including urinating in bottles in a BBC studio); alleged inappropriate use of BBC cars; further allegations of conduct in and around the studio falling below the standards expected of someone engaged by the BBC; and, the 2008 allegation in Los Angeles… The majority of these have been reported in the media. I am treating all of these allegations seriously,” Johnston said.
Two individuals who brought complaints against Brand did so between 2006 and 2008, after which Brand left the BBC. Another two complainants have come forward since the BBC investigation began in September.
“Although my work is in no way complete and therefore I cannot yet reach any conclusions, it would appear that no disciplinary action was taken against Russell Brand during his engagement with the BBC in 2006-8 prior to his departure from the BBC,” Johnston reported.
The BBC Press Office in an additional statement added: “During this period audience complaint numbers relating to BBC output featuring Russell Brand were as follows: For 2006, there were 62 complaints. For 2007 there were 317 complaints. For 2008 there were 225 complaints (this excludes any complaints generated by the editorial breach in respect of which Russell Brand left the BBC).”