Russell Brand: Informal Concerns Were Raised On ‘Big Brother’s Big Mouth’ & Rumors Spread About Presenter Masturbating In Dressing Room, Banijay Report Finds

Concerns were raised about Russell Brand’s behavior two decades ago on Big Brother’s Big Mouth and a rumor spread about his making crew members wait outside his dressing room whilst he masturbated, according to a Banijay investigation published this morning.

Conducted by legal firm Lewis Silkin, the probe found that concerns regarding Brand’s behaviour were raised informally with senior members of staff, “particularly in relation to him asking runners to obtain phone numbers of audience members and female crew members feeling uncomfortable or intimidated by his behaviour.”

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Two witnesses told the firm they were aware of rumors of his masturbating, while others stated they had heard this rumor since, although there was no evidence of formal or informal complaints from the time.

When Brand was engaged to work on magazine formats Big Brother’s Big Mouth and Big Brother’s EFourum, the investigation said Channel 4 and producer Endemol (now Banijay) were aware that he was a “recovering drug addict with a reputation for being ‘edgy’.” “No particular safeguards were put in place to protect Brand, those who worked with him or those who otherwise came into contact with him,” it added.

The report is the third to be published into Brand’s behavior since Channel 4 and The Sunday Times published allegations last year that rocked the entertainment world, including from his time on Big Brother’s Big Mouth. The BBC’s probe found that five complaints were made about his behavior while he worked on radio shows between 2006 and 2008, while Channel 4’s said it had received “two new worrying allegations” since the Dispatches documentary aired. Brand has been questioned by police twice in London. He vehemently denies the claims and has said all of his relationships were consensual.

Banijay’s investigation said staff on Big Brother’s Big Mouth “felt largely unable to raise concerns about Brand due to his role as talent and a view that Brand’s behaviour was tolerated by senior people,” along with “fear of not being listened to.” He was known to be “very flirtatious” with women he worked with, it added, and would sometimes “be naked” in front of Endemol staffers.

“There is evidence to suggest that such behaviour was tolerated as ‘Russell being Russell’,” it added.

Lewis Silkin conducted a “significant number of interviews,” the firm said, spending 385 hours working on the investigation.

“Extensive changes”

Banijay pointed to “extensive changes” at the SAS: Rogue Heroes firm since it acquired Endemol in 2020.

The French-headquartered super-indie cited examples including HR contact details on all call sheets, information on how to raise concerns provided at multiple points via start up meetings and a confidential Speak Up line and website where people can anonymously report issues and concerns.

The Banijay code of conduct is promoted globally, it added.

Big Brother was rebooted earlier this year by Banijay label Initial for ITV, with a spin-off, Big Brother: Late & Live, airing on ITV 2. ITV unveiled a string of duty of care protocols prior to the show’s launch including a social media blackout and anti-harassment policies.

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