YouTube suspends Russell Brand's revenues from his channel after rape allegations
By Kerri-Ann Roper, PA Entertainment Editor
YouTube has stopped Russell Brand making money on its platform because of the rape and sexual assault allegations made against him.
The Google-owned company said it has suspended the monetisation of the 48-year-old’s channel because he was “violating” its “creator responsibility policy”.
In a statement, it said: “If a creator’s off-platform behaviour harms our users, employees or ecosystem, we take action to protect the community.”
The news comes after the remaining shows of Brand’s Bipolarisation tour were postponed and London's Metropolitan Police said they had received a report of an alleged sexual assault in the wake of media allegations about the comedian and actor.
Brand’s YouTube account, which has 6.6 million subscribers, has been suspended from YouTube’s Partner account “following serious allegations against the creator”, meaning the channel is no longer able to make money from advertising on the platform.
The statement added: “This decision applies to all channels that may be owned or operated by Russell Brand.”
Other channels associated with his main YouTube page include Football Is Nice, which has some 20,000 subscribers, Awakening With Russell, which has 426,000 subscribers, and Stay Free With Russell Brand, which has 22,200 subscribers.
YouTube added that suspending a creator from the YouTube Partner Programme means they are “prohibited from using a new or alternate channel to circumvent our enforcement decision”.
Brand still has a presence on video platform Rumble, where his channel has 1.4 million followers and he hosts a weekly live show at 5pm Irish time, but there was no new episode on Monday.
His most recent video on Rumble is the short clip from Friday when he denied the allegations against him which were published the following day.
The Rumble channel description reads: “Everybody knows that the old ideas won’t help us. Religion is dead. Capitalism is dead. Communism is dead. Where will the answers of the next century lie? Particularly, when we’re facing a mental health epidemic and ecological meltdown.”
He also has a dedicated subscribers’ area on the online community platform Locals, where members can sign up for a minimum $60 (€56) a year – or enter a higher amount if they wish to donate more – in order to access special bonus content from Brand, as well as the opportunity to interact with him directly.
Brand has been accused of rape, assault and emotional abuse between 2006 and 2013, when he was at the height of his fame and working for the BBC, Channel 4 and starring in Hollywood films, following a joint investigation by The Times, Sunday Times and Channel 4’s Dispatches.
He has strongly denied the allegations, which also include claims of controlling, abusive and predatory behaviour.
His YouTube channel includes coverage of news stories, including alleged misinformation surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic and being an outspoken sceptic of the vaccine.
Last year, one of his videos was taken down on YouTube over the site’s policy on Covid-19 disinformation, which prompted Brand to move his channel to Rumble.
On Tuesday, The Times reported that several other women have since come forward with fresh claims about Brand.
One woman, using the fake name Lisa, told the paper the comedian had sung about Soham killer Ian Huntley during a consensual sexual encounter in 2008.
Another woman, known as Esme, told the Times that Brand had been threatening and verbally abusive towards her when she refused to have sex with him.
In a now deleted YouTube video, Brand can be heard joking about raping a woman during a recording of Richard Herring’s Leicester Square Theatre Podcast in 2013.
Before the first allegations were published, Brand posted a video on Friday saying he has been “promiscuous” but that all of his relationships have been “consensual”.
Following the accusations at the weekend, the BBC, Channel 4 and Banijay UK, which bought Endemol, the company commissioned by Channel 4 to produce the Big Brother spin-off shows Brand hosted, have all launched investigations into his behaviour while he was working on their programmes.