Police should be called in to investigate rape, sexual assault and emotional abuse allegations against Russell Brand, senior politicians have said.
Both the chair of the Commons women and equalities committee, Caroline Nokes, and the pensions minister, Laura Trott, on Monday expressed their hope that women who have described their painful experiences with Brand would come forward and speak to officers.
Nokes said men accused of such crimes were able to get away with them too often, and for too long. While she acknowledged it would be difficult for victims, who she said had been shamed for speaking out since the reports emerged, she said she hoped they would come forward and speak to the police.
Nokes told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “These allegations are incredibly shocking and criminal, and I would very much hope that complaints will be made both to the Metropolitan police and indeed in the States, because this merits and needs a criminal investigation, because for too long we have seen men – and the perpetrators of these sorts of crimes are almost invariably men – not being held to account for their behaviours and their actions.
“Unfortunately, it seems that celebrity, for whatever reason, can act as a shield for individuals who choose to conduct themselves in a way which – to be quite frank, if that were to happen in any business organisation – you’d like to think that they’d be out the door.”
Asked whether it was a matter for her committee, the senior Tory MP said: “First and foremost, I think it’s a matter for the police.”
Trott told LBC radio: “I think everybody needs to do better. I think no woman reading the allegations that were all over the place this weekend could do anything other than shudder. It’s horrific.
“And I pay absolute tribute to the women who’ve come forward and also the journalists that have pursued this, the editors who’ve allowed them to do that, the investment that’s been put in place and the huge legal risk that’s taken for stories such as these.
“We all need to do better. And I would just plead any woman who’s had experiences like this to come forward and to report them to the police.”
The BBC reported that Scotland Yard had received no complaints of criminal behaviour by Brand.
It was reported on Saturday that Brand had been accused of rape, sexual assault and emotional abuse over a seven-year period at the height of his fame by several women. The allegations were the result of a years-long joint investigation by journalists at the Sunday Times and Times newspapers, as well as Channel 4’s Dispatches programme.
After several requests to respond to the allegations, the media personality denied them. His lawyers initially characterised the way in which the request for comment was made as part of a “pre-conceived strategy aimed at damaging their client”, the Sunday Times reported.
In a video posted to his YouTube account as publication of the allegations became imminent, Brand claimed his relationships had always been consensual and portrayed the reports as a “litany of extremely egregious and aggressive attacks” that he denied.