Comedian Russell Brand is facing allegations of rape, sexual assault and abuse between 2006 and 2013.
Four women have made allegations over the seven-year period as part of a joint investigation by The Times, The Sunday Times and Channel 4 Dispatches. And it has been reported that more women have since come forward after news broke this weekend.
Russell Brand has denied all the allegations made against him.
The extent of the allegations against the 48-year-old has shocked people the world over, but for some in the entertainment industry, it seems this day was a long time coming.
In fact, it has been widely reported that the alleged misconduct by Brand was an "open secret" in comedy.
"There were many stories," recalled comedian Daniel Sloss in Channel 4 Dispatches' Russell Brand: In Plain Sight, claiming that he first heard about the rumours over a decade ago. "It wasn't just coming from one person or group of people. It was different incidents over different years and varying degrees of severity.
"I know for many, many years, women have been warning each other about Russell."
This could also add context to Kathryn Ryan's comments in a 2022 interview with Louis Theroux where she referenced a "predatory" male comedian who she believed to be a "perpetrator of sexual assault", calling it "an open secret" in her industry. Although she has not confirmed that this was Brand.
The allegations against Russell Brand are truly shocking, but perhaps more shocking still is the wall of silence that has seemingly surrounded his alleged misconduct for the past 17 years.
This is something that several comedians have addressed, explaining the great deal of personal risk that comes with speaking out, and alleging that others before them had tried and failed.
“It’s very dangerous for us to have this conversation," Kathryn Ryan told Louis Theroux in their aforementioned interview. “I’m happy to have it, but 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, so am I going to put my mortgage on the line by saying who this person is or entering into any conversations like that? We've seen what happens to people who talk about alleged predators."
"This is scary - this is intimidating," added Daniel Sloss. "And if I'm scared of this, and there's almost no consequences to me, what do people who have suffered, and been subject to his alleged behaviours, how must they feel?"
"Realistically speaking, rumours are exactly that unless you hear directly from a victim," explained comedian Vix Leyton in an opinion piece for the Independent. "With that in mind, it is very difficult to go 'on the record' with any information you have received. There is a risk to you for sharing it from a legal standpoint, particularly where you know the person in question has power or money. There is also a risk to the person the information pertains to, if somewhere along the way a detail was misconstrued, and also to the victims whose story isn’t yours to tell."
"I know there are comedians who have made references in jokes to Russell’s alleged crimes and have either been asked or told not to do those jokes any more," Daniel Sloss went on to allege.
This begs the question, who has been enforcing this apparent wall of silence, allegedly protecting Russell Brand? And if it's true that the allegations against him were an "open secret", how has he been allowed to go on to forge such a successful career?
"I'm stood in artist bars, with agents, promoters, channel commissioners, and I'm hearing these allegations, and these rumours, about Russell in the same room as these people are in," recalled Sloss. "And then later on, he would be in a movie, he would be on a television show, he would be hosting something. He was still being employed."
Two of the alleged victims in the Channel 4 Dispatches' documentary accused production companies of enabling Brand, alleging that he was required in his contract not to have sex with crew members. And that in one alleged case, production are said to have decided not to have women on the crew with Brand for fear they would be "assaulted or harassed".
The broadcasters have stated that they took the necessary steps to deal with Brand, but this is something that needs closer inspection.
The investigation is expected to evolve over the coming weeks. But in the meantime, we too must investigate those who may have been complicit in protecting Brand, and silencing those willing to speak out about his alleged behaviour.
Only then will this moment become a catalyst for change and ensure that next time it won't take over a decade for such allegations to come to light.
Marie Claire Newsletter
Celebrity news, beauty, fashion advice, and fascinating features, delivered straight to your inbox!
Jenny Proudfoot is an award-winning journalist, specialising in lifestyle, culture, entertainment, international development and politics. She has worked at Marie Claire UK for seven years, rising from intern to Features Editor and is now the most published Marie Claire writer of all time. She was made a 30 under 30 award-winner last year and named a rising star in journalism by the Professional Publishers Association.
Chia water is all over TikTok claiming to boost gut health and satiety - but after trying for a week, it's not for me
The results were.... interesting
By Sofia Piza
People are using face tape to minimise wrinkles, but does it work? After asking a plastic surgeon, I tried it for myself
Turns out, TikTok might've duped us on this one
By Tori Crowther
This weekly Olaplex mask is my answer to frazzled winter hair - the before and after pictures have to be seen to be believed
And it just takes 10 minutes
By Tori Crowther