Russell Brand likes cryptic tweet about Phillip Schofield featuring ‘Dispatches’ hashtag that was posted 24 hours before Channel 4 doc revealed claims of rape and sexual assault
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Russell Brand is yet to break his silence since shocking allegations of rape, sexual assault and emotional abuse were made against him over the weekend.
But the maverick actor and comic has liked one bizarre tweet featuring a meme of Phillip Schofield who stepped down from ITV following his admission to an ‘unwise but not illegal’ relationship with a much younger colleague earlier this year.
Brand has refrained from posting to his 23million followers across his various social media accounts since denying ‘very serious criminal allegations’ during a time when he was ‘very, very promiscuous’ in a video message on Friday night.
But the 48-year-old, who is accused of raping a woman at his LA home, attacking two others and grooming a 16-year-old girl at the height of his fame, has set tongues wagging by liking a cryptic tweet featuring a ‘Dispatches’ hashtag.
In a post on Friday at 8.04pm – just over 24 hours prior to the Dispatches documentary airing – one Twitter user shared a GIF of Schofield smiling and dancing with the caption: ‘If only #Dispatches’.
It is understood Brand liked the post between Friday night and Saturday and he has only interacted with one other tweet since – a picture of a group at a jiu-jitsu lifestyle summit.
Russell Brand has liked a cryptic tweet of Phillip Schofield. Brand has not spoken since his statement before the Dispatches documentary aired
Brand is accused of raping a woman at his LA home, attacking two others and grooming a 16-year-old girl at the height of his fame
Schofield was ousted from ITV’s flagship daytime TV programme This Morning in after he admitted to lying to the MoS about having an affair with a much younger This Morning runner behind his wife Stephanie Lowe’s back in May.
Friends have revealed to the Mail that Phil has turned to regular counselling to try to come to terms with losing his job, many friendships and status as one of the UK’s top presenters. ‘He is spending a lot of time talking to a therapist, at least once a week,’ said the friend.
READ MORE: Now BBC iPlayer removes shows featuring Russell Brand – after YouTube suspended his advertising revenue, gigs were cancelled and he was dropped by his publisher
But the man now at the centre of a media storm is Russell Brand – who is facing a litany of allegations including rape and sexual assault against up to nine difference women.
The first allegations from four women, across both the UK and US, came in a joint investigation by The Times, The Sunday Times and Channel 4 Dispatches over the weekend.
They are said to have taken place between 2006 and 2013 at the height of Brand’s fame when he was working as a presenter for BBC Radio 2 and Channel 4 and later as an actor in Hollywood.
But since the documentary was aired on Saturday night, more women have come forward with further claims against the controversial figure. The Metropolitan Police has launched an investigation into a report of an alleged sexual assault in Soho, London, in 2003.
An ex-girlfriend of Brand, Jordan Martin, made the first public allegations against the comedian after accusing him of sexual assault in a book published in 2014.
Brand has since been dropped by his managers Tavistock Wood, banned from making money on YouTube and cancelled the rest of his tour amid the allegations, as broadcasters including the BBC launch probes into his reported behaviour.
The Corporation has also removed all content featuring Brand in another major blow to the comedian.
Controversial comedian Brand at ‘The Today Show Concert Series’ TV programme pictured in June 2010
Russell Brand on Big Brother’s Little Brother on May 31, 2006. Brand presented Big Brother’s Big Mouth for three years before choosing not to return for the eighth series of the show
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Brand has fiercely denied all the allegations against him, releasing a lengthy video on Friday to his 11.2 million Twitter followers. He also has 6.6million YouTube subscribers, 3.8 Instagram followers and 1.4million more on right-wing video platform Rumble.
Despite the YouTube ban, Brand still has a presence on video platform Rumble, where he hosts a weekly live show at 5pm BST, but there was no new episode on Monday.
His most recent video on Rumble is the short clip from Friday when he denied the allegations against him which were published the following day.
The BBC, Channel 4 and Banijay UK, which bought Endemol, the company commissioned by Channel 4 to produce the Big Brother spin-off shows Brand hosted, have all launched investigations into his behaviour while he was working on their programmes.
Downing Street urged the broadcasters to set out the results of their investigations into Brand ‘transparently’.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s official spokesman called the allegations ‘very serious and concerning’.
PR expert Mark Borkowski said: ‘It throws up questions against someone who has been allowed a certain amount of power because of his talent and his meteoric rise.
The comedian, actor and internet personality has told his 6million subscribers that there are ‘very, very serious criminal allegations’ made against him which he ‘absolutely refutes’
‘It questions Russell Brand but also those in governance in TV. There will be a lot of people looking at themselves this morning – those people in power today won’t be the same ones in power that presided over this.’
Brand has since been dropped by a women’s charity he was working with, while TV production companies and channels have launched probes into his alleged behaviour.
Mr Borkowski added: ‘There’s a question whether he’s going to face police action, but the question at the moment is of social media – the man isn’t going to get a fair trial when the police have the evidence to prosecute him.
‘More people may come forward, other people might see an opportunity. It’s a very complex case, mixed between old media and social media’.
The investigation includes allegations Brand assaulted one of the women when she was a 16-year-old girl – who was picked up from school by a BBC chauffeur – and another woman has claimed he raped her against a wall in his home in Los Angeles.
The Times reports several other women have since come forward with fresh claims about Brand.
One woman, using the fake name Lisa, told the paper the comedian had sung about the Soham killer Ian Huntley during a consensual sexual encounter in 2008.
She said: ‘He started talking about Ian Huntley, the paedophile and child killer, and mentioned it quite a few times, like in a joking way, but also made up a whole song about it.
‘I just couldn’t understand why you would be able to have sex and talk about a child killer at the same time.’
Another woman, known as Esme, told the Times Brand had been threatening and verbally abusive towards her when she refused to have sex with him.
Yesterday a former model claimed Brand stalked her through streets in London demanding sex after they met in a bar, forcing her to run away from him in fear.
Revealing the distressing incident that took place in 2005, the woman – who remains anonymous – alleged that Brand followed five paces behind her for what ‘felt like a lifetime’ and shouted to her: ‘Let’s just f*** right here’.
The woman, who was in her 20s at the time, said she met Brand at a bar in Primrose Hill in London. She told of how despite telling him not to leave with her, Brand followed her into the street and became ‘creepy’.
‘It felt like he was hunting me down. It wasn’t flirty or fun. The word ‘predator’ is absolutely spot-on.
Russell Brand leaves the Troubabour Wembley Park theatre in north-west London after performing a comedy set on September 16
‘He was dead set on his goal. His intention was to have sex with someone, anyone,’ she told The Sun.
As Dispatches aired on Saturday Brand performed a sold out comedy gig at the Troubadour Wembley Park Theatre in north-west London as part of his Bipolarisation tour. His three remaining gigs were postponed yesterday.
A spokesman for the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) said they do not have an open investigation into Brand, and another confirmed there have been no arrests following two allegations concerning claims that are said to have happened in the US.
The Met police said: ‘On Sunday September 17, 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.
‘We first spoke with The Sunday Times on Saturday September 16 and have since made further approaches to The Sunday Times and Channel 4 to ensure that anyone who believes they have been the victim of a sexual offence is aware of how to report this to the police.’
The woman who has reported the alleged sexual assault had not spoken to The Sunday Times.
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