Katherine Ryan opens up about 'pushback' for not naming 'dangerous' comedian

"What they want is the women’s names, and that’s what I won’t give."

Katherine Ryan
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Katherine Ryan made headlines late last year when she alleged there was a 'perpetrator of sexual assault' working within the entertainment industry, and that it was an 'open secret'.

In a conversation with Louis Theroux for his self-titled interview series, the comedian shared that she wouldn't share the person's name as she felt it was 'dangerous to have the conversation', adding: "It's a litigious minefield because lots of people have tried to nail this person down for their alleged crimes and this person has very good lawyers."

Last month, Russell Brand was the focus of a joint investigation between The Times, The Sunday Times and Channel 4's Dispatches. It contained allegations of rape, sexual assault and abuse from four women between 2006 and 2013. 

Brand has denied all the allegations against him in a video on YouTube, saying he 'refutes' the 'very serious criminal allegations'. 

Since the investigation aired, London police and Thames Valley Police confirmed that they have opened an investigation into a number of new allegations.

While Katherine has never named the individual she was referring to in her interview with Louis Theroux, she did expand on the reaction to her comments in November 2022.

During a new interview on Desert Island Discs, she opened up about her decision to not name the alleged 'predator' and how she navigated working with that person. 

In the episode - which was released this weekend but had been pre-recorded on 6th September, 10 days before the Russell Brand allegations were published and broadcast - Katherine still didn't name the comedian, but explained what the reaction to her comments were last year. 

She said: "[I got] a lot of, 'Why won’t you say who it is?' It’s because everyone knows who it is, what they want is the women’s names, and that’s what I won’t give and that’s why I’m reluctant.

"No one’s asking for his name. It’s funny how people go straight to accusing, 'You’re the problem, you won’t give his name.'

"We’re not the problem."

Discussing her choice to work with this person, she said: "I had a choice – I could go to work with someone who I believe to be a perpetrator of sexual assault or I could turn down the job. Those were my options."

Adding that she considered this person 'was or is dangerous', Katherine explained that she felt turning down the job also would not have changed anything. 

She said: "My compromise was, I’m going to go and let him know under no uncertain terms what I think of him.

"I’m not just going to allow this behaviour, I’m not going to let him think that I don’t know and that everybody he works with is just going to let him get away with it.

"So that is the attitude I took into the show. And did I do the right thing or the wrong thing? I still don’t know. But I just felt why should I stay home? He should stay home, but if he’s going to be there, I’m going to be there to tell him what I think."

While she notes that the person had 'no obvious reaction', she says that her fellow comedians applauded her for being 'funny and courageous'. 

Jadie Troy-Pryde
News Editor

Jadie Troy-Pryde is News Editor, covering celebrity and entertainment, royal, lifestyle and viral news. Before joining the team in 2018 as the Lifestyle and Social Media Editor, she worked at a number of women’s fashion and lifestyle titles including Grazia, Women’s Health and Stylist, and now heads the Marie Claire UK news desk.