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Russell Brand: Channel 4 sorry after missing complaint about comedian

Actor Russell Brand arrives for the 2013 Vanity Fair Oscar Party hosted by Graydon Carter at Sunset Tower on February 24, 2013 in West Hollywood, California.
Russell Brand has said all his relationships were consensual

Channel 4's boss has apologised to a former employee after an internal probe found it had not investigated a "serious" complaint made against Russell Brand in 2009.

The report also found Channel 4 managers did not know about allegations against him while he was working there.

The findings come six months after the channel's Dispatches programme revealed allegations of rape and sexual assault.

Brand has strongly denied the claims, and police are investigating.

The comedian worked for the channel in the 2000s, presenting programmes including Big Brother's Big Mouth and The Russell Brand Show.

After Dispatches was broadcast in September, in conjunction with The Times and Sunday Times, the channel received two more "worrying allegations" about his behaviour while working for the channel.

One "was not passed up the management chain nor investigated as it ought to have been in accordance with procedures in place at the time", the report said.

The second came from someone who said a former Channel 4 staff member had told them they had witnessed inappropriate behaviour by Brand, referred to as "RB" in the report.

However, investigators said that staff member told them they were "not aware of any non-consensual behaviour by RB, and they did not recall seeing anyone upset by the way RB treated them".

The findings also said that executives had not been aware of complaints about Brand's behaviour before Dispatches was commissioned in 2019.

The findings said: "The investigation did not find any evidence to suggest that any Channel 4 staff were aware of the claims contained in the [Dispatches] programme about RB's behaviour while he was engaged in the making of the Channel 4 shows named in the programme."

'Matter of regret'

In a statement, Channel 4 chief executive Alex Mahon said: "Whilst the investigation did not find any evidence to suggest that any Channel 4 employees were aware of Russell Brand's alleged behaviour contained in the programme, it did find that one former Channel 4 employee made a serious and concerning allegation about Russell Brand in 2009.

"This was not escalated to Channel 4's then senior management team, nor investigated as it should have been. I have apologised on behalf of the organisation to the individual for this breakdown and for the distress this matter has caused.

"In my view, it is a matter of regret for our industry that repugnant behaviours were tolerated - and indeed appeared on-air - in the past.

"Production staff, employees and suppliers should never experience inappropriate behaviour."

The channel's chairman, Sir Ian Cheshire, said: "The board is satisfied that no Channel 4 employees were aware of the deeply disturbing alleged behaviour contained in 'Russell Brand: In Plain Sight: Dispatches'.

"However, we consider it clear that a serious allegation about Russell Brand was made in 2009 by a then serving member of staff which was not properly investigated nor escalated to Channel 4's then senior management.

"The board and ethics committee are confident that strengthened safeguarding processes introduced in the past decade mean that an allegation such as this would today be reportable through multiple routes."

The Dispatches documentary contained a number of accusations of rape, sexual assault and emotional abuse between 2006 and 2013, all of which Brand denies.

In December, London's Metropolitan Police said Brand had been questioned in relation to nine alleged offences, and that its inquiries were continuing.

He has previously said his relationships have "always" been consensual.