Tue, Sep 19, 2023 4:47 PM
By JILL LAWLESS, Associated Press
LONDON (AP) — YouTube said Tuesday that Russell Brand will no longer make money from the video streaming site after several women made allegations of sexual assault against the comedian-turned-influencer.
The BBC removed some of Brand's material from its streaming archive, joining a growing list of organizations distancing themselves from the performer, who denies sexual assault and has not been charged with any criminal offenses.
YouTube said monetization of Brand's account, which has 6.6 million subscribers, has been suspended “following serious allegations against the creator.”
“This decision applies to all channels that may be owned or operated by Russell Brand," the Google-owned video service said.
The suspension means Brand won’t be able to earn money from the ads that run within and alongside YouTube videos, which have titles including “What REALLY Started the Hawaii Fires?” and “Covid Tsar Admits Lockdowns Were NEVER About Science.”
Other channels associated with Brand's main YouTube page include Awakening With Russell, which has 426,000 subscribers, Football Is Nice, which has some 20,000 subscribers, and Stay Free With Russell Brand, which has 22,200 subscribers.
Brand still has a presence on Rumble, a video site popular with some conservatives and far-right groups, where his channel has 1.4 million followers. He also has 11.2 million followers on X, formerly known as Twitter, and 3.8 million on Instagram.
Brand, 48, denies allegations of sexual assault made by four women in a Channel 4 television documentary and The Times and Sunday Times newspapers. The accusers, who have not been named, include one who said she was sexually assaulted during a relationship with him when she was 16. Another woman says Brand raped her in Los Angeles in 2012.
The four allegations date from between 2006 and 2013. London’s Metropolitan Police force said that since those claims were made public, it has received a report of a separate sexual assault dating from 2003.
Known for his unbridled and risqué standup routines, Brand was a major U.K. star in the early 2000s. He hosted shows on radio and television, wrote memoirs charting his battles with drugs and alcohol, appeared in several Hollywood movies and was briefly married to pop star Katy Perry between 2010 and 2012.
In recent years Brand has largely disappeared from mainstream media but has built up a large following online with videos mixing wellness and conspiracy theories. His YouTube channel has featured COVID-19 conspiracy theories, vaccine misinformation and interviews with controversial broadcasters, including Tucker Carlson and Joe Rogan.
He also has continued to tour as a comedian, performing to hundreds of people in a London venue on Saturday. He had been due to perform on Tuesday in Windsor, west of London, but promoters said the rest of the tour was being postponed following the allegations.
The BBC said it had taken some content featuring Brand from its iPlayer and Sounds apps, "having assessed that it now falls below public expectations.”
Brand also has been dropped by his talent agency and a publisher since the allegations became public.
Ellie Tomsett, senior lecturer in media and communications at Birmingham City University, said it was too soon to tell whether the claims would end Brand’s comedy career.
“I think there’s definitely a market for ‘outsider’ comedians … or people who want to position themselves as some way or alternative to current understandings of gender equality,” she said. “And so I think in the longer term, will it impact his career in the way that we may be expect it to? Possibly not.”