London’s Metropolitan Police said it has launched an investigation into allegations of “non-recent” sexual offenses in the United Kingdom, after a joint investigation by British media outlets revealed the comedian Russell Brand was accused of rape and sexual assault.
“Following an investigation by Channel 4’s Dispatches and The Sunday Times, the Met has received a number of allegations of sexual offences in London,” the force said in a statement Monday.
“We have also received a number of allegations of sexual offences committed elsewhere in the country and will investigate these. The offences are all non-recent,” it added.
Brand has publicly denied the allegations and accused the UK government of trying to censor him.
Detectives from the Met’s Central Specialist Crime Command, led by Detective Superintendent Andy Furphy, will carry out the investigation, according to the Met’s statement.
“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,” it said.
“We understand it can feel like a difficult step to take and I want to reassure that we have a team of specialist officers available to advise and support.”
Brand became famous as a comedian and actor, but in recent years has built a YouTube channel which has been accused of promoting conspiracy theories including Covid denialism.
Since the allegations broke YouTube has demonetized Brand’s channel and his live tour has been postponed.
The Sunday Times, The Times and Channel 4’s Dispatches published an investigation in which four women alleged Brand of sexually assaulting them in separate instances between 2006 and 2013. One of the women said she was 16 and Brand was 31 at the time of the alleged assault in London.
At least two of the alleged assaults took place in Los Angeles. One woman was treated at a rape treatment center the same day as the alleged assault, according to the report.
Police were contacted by the center, the story stated, but the woman chose not to file a report because she “didn’t think my words would mean anything up against his,” according to notes from the rape center the woman shared with The Times.
Downing Street described the allegations made in the documentary as “very serious and concerning.”
“The Met Police has asked anyone who believes they have been a victim of sexual assault to come forward to speak to officers,” Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s official spokesman said in a statement after the documentary aired.
The Met announced last week that they were investigating an allegation of sexual assault in 2003.
Without naming Brand, a Met spokesperson said: “We are aware of reporting by The Sunday Times and Channel 4’s Dispatches about allegations of sexual offenses.
“On Sunday, 17 September, the Met received a report of a sexual assault which was alleged to have taken place in Soho in central London in 2003. Officers are in contact with the woman and will be providing her with support.”