Brand recently denied allegations of sexual assault made by four women. The accusers, who have not been named, include a woman who said she was sexually assaulted during a relationship with him when she was 16. Another says Brand raped her in Los Angeles in 2012.
British police have received fresh allegations of sexual assault accusing the comedian and actor Russell Brand. They have now opened a sex crimes investigation triggered by the news reports.
Brand has been accused of rape, assault and emotional abuse between 2006 and 2013. However, he has strongly denied the accusations. Before the allegations were published, he said his relationships had "always" been consensual.
The police force did not name Brand in its statement, but referred to the recent articles and documentary where the allegations were made. It said detectives were investigating allegations of “non-recent” sexual offenses, both in London and elsewhere.
“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," said Detective Superintendent Andy Furphy of the Met's Specialist Crime Command, who is leading the investigation.
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.
Brand has largely disappeared from mainstream media but has built up a large following online with videos mixing wellness and conspiracy theories.
Last week YouTube said it would stop Brand from making money from the streaming site, where he has 6.6 million subscribers, due to the “serious allegations" against him.
Promoters also cancelled several scheduled live shows by Brand, and he has been dropped by his talent agency and a publisher since the allegations became public.