A TV executive who worked at a company that hired Russell Brand has described the allegations against the star as “depressing”.
Phil Edgar-Jones was creative director of Remarkable Pictures, part of Endemol UK, and oversaw Big Brother during its Channel 4 years.
Speaking to Sky News, he said: “There was never any sense that he’d done anything inappropriate that was brought to our attention certainly.
“We knew he had a reputation for being promiscuous – and everybody knew that at the time – but that’s as far as it went, as far as we knew.”
He added that the allegations were “pretty depressing”.
Mr Edgar-Jones, who is now director of Sky Arts and Entertainment, went on to stress that Remarkable Pictures would “100%” have acted if something was brought to its attention.
Four women made allegations of rape and sexual assault against Brand in a joint investigation by The Sunday Times and Channel 4’s Dispatches.
Some of the claims date back to when he was presenting the spin-off programme Big Brother’s Big Mouth.
The comedian and actor has said he “absolutely refutes” the allegations against him – and claimed he is being attacked by the mainstream media.
Mr Edgar-Jones said it was difficult to say whether Brand’s on-set behaviour at the time would have been regarded as unacceptable now.
“It’s 20 years ago – I guess, maybe these things get called out a lot more now, for sure. But at the time, it didn’t seem like there was anything untoward that he was doing,” he added.
The executive went on to confirm that he is happy to take part in the reviews that are happening at the moment – with the BBC and Channel 4 launching investigations.
In other developments:
• YouTube has suspended adverts on videos posted to Brand’s account
• Channel 4 has taken down content featuring the comedian from its streaming service
• The BBC has also removed some Brand content from iPlayer and Sounds
• Paramount+ has removed a Brand stand-up comedy special, Live in New York City, from its service
• Brand’s tour promoters have confirmed that his live shows have been postponed
• The Metropolitan Police has received an allegation of sexual assault against Brand that dates back to 2003
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Brand was at the centre of the so-called “Sachsgate” scandal in 2008, when he and TV presenter Jonathan Ross left lewd messages on the answerphone of Andrew Sachs, the late actor who starred in Fawlty Towers.
The voicemails had related to Sachs’s granddaughter Georgina Baillie, who had an on-off relationship with Brand in the 2000s.
The 38-year-old actress went on to say that, even though she did not know all of the details surrounding the allegations, some of the evidence is “compelling”.
When asked about her thoughts about the claims, Baillie added: “I don’t know what happened there – I don’t know because I wasn’t there. He never did anything like that with me, everything was more than consensual, I promise.”