Entertainment industry has ‘questions to answer’ over Russell Brand claims, says Cabinet minister James Cleverly as he rues ‘missed opportunities to do the right thing’
The Foreign Secretary warned of ‘real challenges’ when there are ‘very acute differentials in power’ in sectors such as showbusiness or politics.
He also rued ‘missed opportunities to do the right thing’ and called for care to be taken when listening to those who are ‘relatively powerless’.
Brand has been accused of rape, sexual assaults and emotional abuse during a seven-year period at the height of his fame.
The comedian and actor also faces allegations of controlling, abusive and predatory behaviour, following a joint investigation by The Sunday Times, The Times and Channel 4 Dispatches.
Four women, including one who was just 16 at the time, have alleged sexual assaults occurred between 2006 and 2013, when Brand was working for BBC Radio 2 and Channel 4, as well as starring in Hollywood films.
Brand vehemently denies the allegations and in a video posted online, stated all of his relationships have been ‘consensual’, before accusing the media of a ‘co-ordinated attack’.
Mr Cleverly was quizzed about the allegations against Brand during an interview with the BBC’s Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg show this morning.
‘I think there are some real challenges where you have these very, very acute differentials in power – whether that be in the entertainment industry, whether that be in politics and we see this in the commercial world as well,’ the Foreign Secretary said.
‘I think we have to be particularly careful when we listen to the voices of the people who are relatively powerless.
‘Because we, I think, collectively have missed opportunities to do the right thing and intervene much, much earlier, and we’ve got to be better at this.’
Asked whether are questions for the industry, Mr Cleverly replied: ‘Sadly, I think there are.’
Channel 4 Dispatches aired a 90-minute film titled Russell Brand: In Plain Sight on Saturday night.
It saw four unidentified women detail their allegations, and other women speak of their experiences working with Brand on TV sets.
The film included Brand’s former personal assistant Helen Berger, who called him a ‘narcissist’ in an interview for the programme.
Brand appeared as scheduled at the 2,000-capacity Troubadour Wembley Park Theatre in north-west London to perform a sold-out comedy gig on Saturday evening.
His show, titled Bipolarisation, had been due to begin at 7pm, but was delayed by more than 45 minutes and lasted around an hour.
While not directly addressing the allegations, audience members reported how Brand said he hoped they could ‘appreciate’ there were things he could not talk about during the set.