LONDON (Bywire News) - BBC faces renewed scrutiny over its internal controls after a woman, referred to as Olivia, came forward accusing comedian Russell Brand of exposing himself to her in 2008. Astonishingly, the alleged incident was apparently discussed moments later on Brand's pre-recorded Radio 2 show, reports, BBC News.
Olivia alleges that the incident occurred when she was working in the same building as the BBC in Los Angeles. While searching for medication in a bathroom, she claims to have been confronted by Brand, who had been there to pre-record his radio show. According to Olivia, Brand exposed himself and made sexually explicit remarks, leaving her feeling "trapped." Shortly after, Brand was recorded joking about the event with his co-presenter, Matt Morgan.
Though informed of the alleged incident in 2019, the BBC did not take any formal action at the time. The organisation has now pledged to investigate these allegations as part of a broader review into Brand’s tenure at the BBC. Critics wonder why this portion of the pre-recorded show was allowed to be broadcast in the first place.
Other Accusations Surface
Four other women have also accused Brand of sexual assaults and rape between 2006 and 2013, charges which he has vehemently denied, claiming his relationships were "always consensual."
A Deeper Dive
The episode, aired on 21 June 2008, features an exchange between Brand and Morgan, where Morgan remarks, "It’s been 25 minutes since he showed his willy to a lady," followed by laughter from both. Olivia, upon hearing the broadcast years later, felt "disgusted," expressing regret that more hadn’t been done to curb Brand's behaviour.
Struggles with Speaking Out
Despite feeling distressed, Olivia never filed a formal complaint. She cited concerns over not being taken seriously due to her appearance and accent, as well as potential repercussions for her and her family.
BBC’s Director General Tim Davie has announced a review of Russell Brand’s time at the BBC, acknowledging that some broadcasts from that period are "inexcusable and totally unacceptable." Olivia, however, questions why it took so long for the BBC to take any action, adding that she "suspects there's far worse" in other episodes.
A Tarnished Legacy?
Brand resigned from the BBC in October 2008 following a separate scandal involving obscene voicemail messages left for actor Andrew Sachs. This new set of allegations adds another layer to the ongoing conversation about accountability in media organisations and the balance between on-air audacity and acceptable conduct.
Whether you view him as a maverick or a menace, one thing is for certain: Russell Brand’s past is catching up with him, and the BBC has some serious questions to answer.
(By Michael O'Sullivan)