The comedian was blocked from making money off his YouTube channels amid sexual assault allegations.
YouTube announced on Tuesday that it has suspended Russell Brand's ability to monetize his content on their video platform following serious allegations of sexual assault made against the 48-year-old comedian.
Brand's main YouTube channel, boasting 6.6 million subscribers, is one of the notable accounts impacted by this suspension. As a result, he will no longer be able to earn revenue from ads displayed within and alongside his videos, which cover a wide range of topics from "What REALLY Started the Hawaii Fires?" to "COVID Tsar Admits Lockdowns Were NEVER About Science."
Brand's other YouTube channels, including "Awakening With Russell" with 426,000 subscribers, "Football Is Nice" with 20,000 subscribers, and "Stay Free With Russell Brand" with 22,200 subscribers, are also affected by this suspension.
Despite this setback on YouTube, Brand maintains a presence on other social media platforms. His channel on Rumble, a platform popular among certain conservative and far-right groups, boasts 1.4 million followers. Additionally, he has 11.2 million followers on X (formerly known as Twitter) and 3.8 million on Instagram.
The allegations against Brand surfaced in a Channel 4 television documentary as well as The Times and The Sunday Times newspapers. Four women have come forward with allegations of sexual assault, which date back to between 2006 and 2013. One of the accusers claimed she was sexually assaulted during a relationship with Brand when she was just 16, while another woman claims Brand raped her in Los Angeles in 2012. In response to these allegations, the London Metropolitan Police confirmed they have received a report of a separate sexual assault dating back to 2003.
The Forgetting Sarah Marshall star got ahead of the story by taking to social media on Friday to "absolutely refute" the allegations, which he referred to as "extremely egregious and aggressive attacks." The story was published Saturday morning.
"I've received two extremely disturbing letters -- or a letter and an email -- one from a mainstream media TV company, one from a newspaper, listing a litany of extremely egregious and aggressive attacks," he says in a video posted on Instagram. "But amidst the litany of astonishing, rather baroque attacks, are some very serious allegations that I absolutely refute."
He added, "As I've written about extensively in my books, I was very, very promiscuous. Now during that time of promiscuity, the relationships I had were absolutely, always consensual ... I was always transparent about that then, almost too transparent. And I’m being transparent about it now as well. And to see that transparency metastasized into something criminal, that I absolutely deny."
The Get Him to the Greek star goes on to say in his video that "it's worth mentioning that there are witnesses whose evidence directly contradicts the narratives that these two mainstream media outlets are trying to construct apparently, in what seems to me to be, a coordinated attack."
Brand’s career, which began with unbridled and risqué stand-up routines, saw him rise to prominence in the early 2000s. He hosted radio and television shows, authored memoirs detailing his battles with substance abuse, appeared in Hollywood films, and was briefly married to pop star Katy Perry from 2010 to 2012.
In recent years, Brand shifted his focus away from mainstream media and built a substantial online following with content that combines wellness and conspiracy theories. His YouTube channel has featured content related to COVID-19 conspiracy theories, vaccine misinformation, and interviews with controversial figures such as Tucker Carlson and Joe Rogan.
Brand's career has also been impacted beyond his YouTube suspension. He was dropped by his talent agency and publisher after the allegations came to light.